A REPORT TO THE PRESIDENT
by the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities
,°* TH£ "/<>
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The President's Committee on the Arts and the Hu-
manities is a presidential advisory committee estab-
lished by Executive Order to stimulate private sector
support and public-private partnerships for the arts
and the humanities and to raise public awareness
of the benefits of culture to society. The President's
Committee convenes experts, commissions research,
publishes reports and conducts public meetings.
In September 1 994, President Clinton appointed thirty-
two private members and thirteen heads of federal
agencies with cultural programs to serve on the
President's Committee. The First Lady, Hillary Rodham
Clinton, is Honorary Chair. Among its members are
corporate executives, foundation presidents, artists,
scholars and community leaders as well as the heads
of national cultural agencies and institutions.
Members of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities
Hillary Rodham Clinton, Honorary Chair
John Brademas, New York, NY, President Emeritus,
New York University, Chairman
Peggy Cooper Cafritz, Washington D.C., Founder,
Duke Ellington School of the Arts and art critic, Vice Chair
Cynthia Perrin Schneider, Sandy Spring, MD, Associate Professor
of Art, Music and Theatre, Georgetown University, Vice Chair
Terry Semel, Los Angeles, CA, Chairman and Co-Chief Executive
Officer, Warner Brothers, Vice Chair
Susan Barnes-Gelt, Denver, CO, Councilwoman-at-Large
Lerone Bennett, Jr., Chicago, IL, Executive Editor, Ebony
Madeleine Harris Berman, Franklin, Ml, Community volunteer
Curt Bradbury, Little Rock, AR, Chief Operating Officer,
John H. Bryan, Chicago, IL, Chairman and CEO,
Sara Lee Corporation
Hilario Candela, Coral Gables, FL, FAIA, President,
Spillis, Candela and Partners, Inc.
Anne Cox Chambers, Atlanta, GA, Chairman,
Maggie Daley, Chicago, IL, President,
Pathways Awareness Foundation
Everett Fly, San Antonio, TX, Architect and President,
E.L. Fly and Associates
David Pierpont Gardner, Menlo Park, CA, President,
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; President Emeritus,
University of California and the University of Utah
Harvey Golub, Saddle River, NJ, Chairman and CEO,
American Express Company
Richard S. Gurin, Easton, PA, President and CEO,
Binney & Smith Inc
Irene Y. Hirano, Los Angeles, CA, Executive Director and President,
Japanese American National Museum
David Henry Hwang, New York, NY, Writer
William Ivey, Nashville, TN, Director, Country Music Foundation
Quincy Jones, Los Angeles, CA, Musician, composer and record
Robert B. Menschel, New York, NY, Limited Partner,
Goldman Sachs and Company
Rita Moreno, New York, NY, Actress
Jaroslav Pelikan, New Haven, CT, President,
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Anthony T. Podesta, Washington, D.C., Chairman,
Phyllis Rosen, New York, NY, President, P. Rosen, Inc.
Emily Malino Scheuer, Washington, D.C., Design Consultant,
Tobey & Davis
Ann Sheffer, Westport, CT, Community volunteer
Raymond W. Smith, Philadelphia, PA, Chairman and CEO,
Bell Atlantic Corporation
Isaac Stern, New York, NY, Musician
Shirley P. Wilhite, Shreveport, LA, President, Wilhite Inc.
Harold Williams, Los Angeles, CA, President and CEO,
J. Paul Getty Trust
Jane Alexander, Chairman, National Endowment for the Arts
David Barram, Acting Administrator,
General Services Administration
James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress
Joseph D. Duffey, Director, United States Information Agency
Diane B. Frankel, Director, Institute of Museum
and Library Services
Sheldon Hackney, Chairman, National Endowment
for the Humanities
John D. Hawke, Jr., Designee of the Secretary of the Treasury,
Under Secretary for Domestic Finance (Succeeds Leslie
Samuels, Under Secretary for Tax Policy)
I. Michael Heyman, Secretary, Smithsonian Institution
James A. Johnson, Chairman, John F. Kennedy Center
for the Performing Arts
Roger Kennedy, Designee of the Secretary of the Interior, Director,
National Park Service
Terry Peterson, Designee of the Secretary of Education,
Counselor to the Secretary of Education, (Succeeds Madeleine
M. Kunin, Deputy Secretary)
Earl A. Powell III, Director, National Gallery of Art
Timothy Wirth, Designee of the Secretary of State,
Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs
Harriet Fulbright, Executive Director
(Ellen McCulloch-Lovell, Executive Director, 1994-1997)
Malcolm Richardson, Deputy Director
Jane Engelstad, Special Assistant
A REPORT TO THE PRESIDENT
by the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities
This report was supported by grants from:
J. Paul Getty Trust
Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation
William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Sara Lee Corporation
Betty R. Sheffer Foundation
and by substantial in-kind contributions from:
J. Paul Getty Trust
Howard Gilman Foundation
Washington, D.C. 1997
e°* THE ^
Dear President Clinton,
I am honored to transmit Creative America, the report
of your President's Committee on the Arts and the
Humanities, concerning the system of support for
cultural life in the United States today.
When you appointed the President's Committee,
you asked us to prepare a report "articulating the fun-
damental and intrinsic values of the arts and the hu-
manities" and describing the "cultural sector" and its
contributions to American life.
As you requested, this report will summarize "what
we know about trends in private funding and earned
income that contribute most of the financial support"
for cultural organizations. The report also addresses
"the role of the federal government in the arts and
the humanities." Finally, as you charged us, our report
makes recommendations for "strengthening support
for the arts and the humanities in the United States."
Creative America reflects the consensus of the mem-
bers who serve on the President's Committee. Not ev-
ery member agrees with every recommendation, but
most of us are in accord with the main thrust of our
analysis and with the suggestions we offer.
The members of our Committee approached this
task with some common convictions. We affirm that a
healthy cultural life is vital to a democratic society. We
believe that a great nation must invest in its cultural
development and preservation, just as it supports sci-
entific discovery and protects natural resources.
America possesses rich "cultural capital" — an
array of cultural institutions, traditions, and creative
men and women who produce works of art and schol-
arship. Our citizens write, explore ideas, make art,
celebrate their diverse cultures, and express themselves
in uniquely American voices. The achievements of
our artists and scholars are admired around the world.
To prepare this report, the President's Commit-
tee surveyed the size and scope of the lively arena
of American culture. We define that arena broadly
to embrace the multiple expressions and explora-
tions that appear in the amateur, non-profit and
commercial cultural worlds.
We found the commitment to support cultural
activities a clear indicator of vital communities. We
studied how cultural organizations are supported
and asked what resources exist to encourage art-
ists and scholars. Where traditional cultures still
live, we found much to learn from observing how
culture forms the basis of community life and is
transmitted through generations.
America's cultural life shows remarkable signs of
strength and vigor; it also displays many symptoms of stress.
Millions of Americans now have more opportuni-
ties to engage in cultural experiences than ever be-
fore. Especially over the last thirty years, the public
and private sectors have combined resources to pre-
serve cultural traditions, seed a flowering of cultural
organizations across the nation, and prompt the cre-
ation of new American works of scholarship and art.
For the past ten years, however, cultural organizations
have been buffeted by several factors: an uneven
economy, stagnating private contributions, and cuts
in federal and some state support.
The members of the President's Committee un-
dertook this report at a time of federal budget reduc-
tions and debate over the role of government in the
nation's life. The history of private and public sup-
port for the arts and the humanities demonstrates that
the United States has developed a complex, interde-
pendent system of support that includes contributions
from individuals, private foundations and corpora-
tions; from federal, state and local governments; and
from the imaginative ways in which organizations and
individuals earn income.
The President's Committee strongly asserts that this
interdependent system of support for culture must be
valued and strengthened, not denigrated and dismantled.
The portion of our cultural life preserved and pro-
duced through non-profit organizations cannot sur-
vive in the marketplace alone; it requires both public
and private investment.
The findings and recommendations we transmit
to you today represent a prescription for strengthening
the system of support for the arts and the humanities
in our country, a system we must sustain if our cul-
tural institutions are to survive and our artists and
scholars to thrive.
With these recommendations, we call upon you,
Mr. President, and your administration, on Congress
and other elected officials as well as on civic and cor-
porate leaders and individual Americans, to work to-
gether to keep our cultural investment strong.
As you lead our country into a new century and
the next millennium, you will also have a unique op-
portunity to lead a celebration that will enable our
citizens to understand the past and to imagine the fu-
ture. Our report proposes a Millennium Initiative to
involve all Americans in preserving our cultural heri-
tage and in appreciating creativity through the arts
and the humanities.
We urge using the milestone of the millennium
as a gateway to the future, strengthening cultural life
in the United States by taking these major actions:
>• An assessment of the nation's preservation needs
and a plan to protect our cultural legacy;
>- A public-private partnership to digitize cultural
materials to make them available through new
>■ A series of measures to strengthen education in
the arts and the humanities;
>■ An investment in national leadership through
gradual increases in funding for the grant-
making cultural agencies to reach a level of spend-
ing equal to $2 per person by the year 2000;
>■ A White House forum on enhancing knowledge
of other countries and cultures, including inter-
national cultural and educational exchanges.
Members of the President's Committee believe
that the actions we recommend for a Millennium
Initiative will help sustain our cultural legacy and
harness the creativity of Americans for a new cen-
tury of hope and promise.
Mr. President, we are honored to have been in-
vited to serve on the President's Committee and we
stand ready to work with you to make real the rec-
ommendations we offer in Creative America.
>- A national initiative to renew American philan-
thropy for the arts and the humanities, and for
other charitable purposes;
John Brademas, Chairman
President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities
Romare Bearden 1951. Portrait by Roy deCarava.
Reprinted by permission of the artist.
Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2012 with funding from
LYRASIS Members and Sloan Foundation
Hreative America reflects the conviction that a
thriving culture is at the core of a vital
society. The creative force of the arts and
the humanities strengthens our democracy. The
members of the President's Committee see the arts
and the humanities as a "public good," which ben-
efits all Americans, just as surely as does a strong
The President's Committee reviewed abundant
evidence that participation in the arts and the hu-
manities unlocks the human potential for creativity
and lifts us beyond our isolated individualism to
shared understanding. History, literature, ethics
and the arts offer lessons on the human condition
that connect individuals to the community and over-
come the social fragmentation that many Americans
feel. To remain a robust civil society, our democratic
system needs the arts and the humanities.
The interconnection between culture and democ-
racy is described by Benjamin Barber, who writes in
an essay commissioned by the President's Committee
that culture and democracy "share a dependency on
one extraordinary human gift, imagination. Imagi-
nation is the key to diversity, to civic compassion and
to commonalty. It is the faculty by which we stretch
ourselves to include others, expand the compass of
our interests to discover common ground, and over-
come the limits of our parochial selves to become fit
subjects to live in democratic community... It is only a
mature democracy that fully appreciates these linkages.
"The arts and humanities are civil society's driv-
ing engine, the key to its creativity, its diversity, its imagi-
nation and hence its spontaneousness and liberty."
"A community lives in the minds of its members -
in shared assumptions, beliefs, customs and ideas..."
Our economy is measured in numbers
and statistics, and it's very important.
But the enduring worth of our nation
lies in our shared values and our soar-
ing spirit. So instead of cutting back
on our modest efforts to support the
arts and humanities, I believe we
should stand by them, and challenge
our artists, musicians, and writers, our
museums, libraries and theaters, to
join with all Americans to make the
year 2000 a national celebration of the
American spirit in every community —
a celebration of our common culture in
the century that has passed, and in the
new one to come in the new millen-
nium, so that we can remain the
world's beacon of liberty and creativity,
long after the fireworks have faded.
— President Clinton,
State of the Union Address,
February 4, 1997
writes John W. Gardner, founder of Independent Sec-
tor. "Every healthy society celebrates its values. They
are expressed in the arts, in song, in ritual. They are
stated explicitly in historical documents, in ceremo-
nial speeches, in textbooks. They are reflected in sto-
ries told around the campfire, in the legends kept alive
by old folks, in the fables told to children. ...Indeed,
the Constitution, in addition to being an instrument
of governance, is an expression of pledged values."
A society that supports the arts and the humani-
ties is not engaging in philanthropic activity so much
as it is assuring the conditions of its own flourishing.
The Richness of American Culture
Our cultural heritage defines us as Americans and
reflects the diversity of our people. The promise of
democracy and the interactions of many peoples helped to
create new ideas and artistic expressions that are uniquely
ours. America is indeed a country of creators and innova-
tors. We register 550,000 copyrights for music, art,
manuscripts and software a year and publish 62 ,000 books.
When we use the word "culture" in this report, we
mean those forms of human creativity that are ex-
pressed through the arts and those disciplines of the
mind described as the humanities, most notably his-
tory, languages, literature and philosophy.
In 1996, our nation could count:
• over 8,000 museums
including 4,510 historic sites
and history museums
• over 30,000 libraries
• 3,665 institutions of higher learning
• 2,000 local preservation
• 351 public television stations
• 548 public radio stations
• 7,000 community theaters
• 1 ,800 symphony orchestras
By American culture, we mean both Pueblo danc-
ers and the New York City Ballet; the local historical
society as well as the History Department of Harvard
University; the church choir and the St. Paul Cham-
ber Orchestra; the lone scholar in her cubicle and the
citizen debate in a Town Hall. Within American cul-
ture, we embrace the treasures preserved in our mu-
seums and libraries, the diverse heritage of our many
ethnic communities, and the dynamic power of our
Historian Merrill Peterson writes in an essay for
the President's Committee: "The uprooted of America
mingled with those whose presence told the story not
of choice and freedom but of force and tears — the
Native Americans displaced on their own continent
and the Africans involuntarily uprooted from another.
The amalgam made the United States, in Walt
Whitman's phrase, a nation of nations. The steady in-
flux of new peoples and culture — in time Asian and
Latin American as well as European and African —
contributed to the shaping of a dynamic tradition, one
continually faced with the challenges of ethnic and
cultural differences. ..and enriched by the mixture of
new elements in its composition."
Indeed, the President's Committee notes that the
cultural sector is one of the most integrated areas of
American life. "Our diversity is our strength and the
foundation of what is uniquely American in art and
culture, including jazz, American dance, Twain,
Faulkner, Broadway, the Grammy Awards, Richard
Wright, and Leontyne Price," author Lerone Bennett,
Jr. reminds us.
We use the metaphor of the "border" to describe
the combinations and innovations in American cultural
development. The perimeter along which opera lived
with popular song yielded musical theater. The border
between black and white Americans gave us blues, jazz,
and rock n' roll. It is the border of Texas and Mexico
that nurtured the tradition of Tejano music and cui-
sine. The line along which art and technology touch
energizes our film, broadcasting and recording indus-
tries. Where photography and the tape recorder meet
history, knowledge is informed by personal narrative.
Today, the distinctly American achievements of our
artists and humanists are recognized throughout the
world. The Declaration of Independence, the writings
of Abraham Lincoln, the speeches of Martin Luther
King, Jr. draw on the traditions of humanistic thought
and all exert influence beyond the confines of our coun-
try. Jazz, musical theater, modern dance, film, abstract
expressionism and the American novel are among our
gifts to civilization.
Appreciation and Organization
Americans enjoy the arts and the humanities in many
ways that are woven into the fabric of everyday life.
Our citizens encounter culture every day, when they
pass an historic building, read an op-ed piece which
illuminates an issue, listen to country music on the
radio, enjoy the design of a computer program, or feel
moved by a powerful story on screen or stage. When
the high school band plays in the Fourth of July pa-
rade or a minister preaches about ethical values,
people do not think, "I am having an arts and humani-
ties experience." But, in fact, these experiences are
rooted in the arts and humanities. They are the every-
day signposts that point to how creative and reflective
experiences are deeply embedded in our lives.
How many citizens are involved in cultural pur-
suits? No complete statistical portrait of audiences can
be painted, but the data suggest that the number is
very large. Bureau of the Census surveys in 1992 indi-
cate that 42% of the population attended theater, op-
era or the ballet, heard a jazz or classical concert, or
visited a museum or a commercial art gallery.
Hundreds of thousands of Americans participate in
amateur theater, gospel groups, book clubs and library
discussions. Amateur folk dancers abound, as do wood-
carvers, quilters and photographers. Americans buy
books and go to the movies in droves. Just a few indi-
cators of this hunger for cultural experiences emerge
from President's Committee research:
>• Over a quarter of a million Americans care enough
about preserving their architectural legacy to be-
come dues-paying members of the National Trust
for Historic Preservation.
>• Over the past decade, two million adult readers
took part in reading and discussion groups orga-
nized by the American Library Association, state
humanities councils, and local libraries.
>• Museums of all types report large increases in at-
tendance. The Age of Rubens exhibition attracted a
quarter of a million visitors to the Toledo Museum
of Art in Ohio — the largest attendance in the
Museum's 93-year history. Neither the shutdown
of the federal government nor the blizzard of 1996
could deter thousands of people from standing
in line for hours for a chance to view the Vermeer
show at the National Gallery of Art in Washing-
In 20th century America, especially in the last 30
years of the public-private partnership that sustains cul-
tural life, we have seen a remarkable flowering of the
arts and the humanities. There are more opportuni-
ties than ever before for our citizens to participate in
and be enriched by cultural experiences.
The world of informal cultural groups is an impor-
tant aspect of American culture that is understudied
and often overlooked. A San Francisco foundation sur-
vey of "informal arts groups" reported over 100 ethnic
dance companies in the Bay Area alone. In 1996, the
Tennessee Arts Commission identified over 300 active
bluegrass, gospel and blues groups. A blues magazine
counts 140 annual blues festivals in the United States,
most organized by volunteers.
The intensity of these attachments to specific art
forms, local historical traditions, and all kinds of neigh-
borhood and ethnic organizations demonstrates how
the arts and the humanities continually renew them-
selves and their communities.
Interplay of Amateur,
Non-profit and Commercial Culture
In the United States, amateur, non-profit and commer-
cial creative enterprises all interact and influence each
other constantly. A mariachi music revival, supported
with government grants, goes mainstream as the popu-
lar groups produce recordings. Non-profit presses now
publish much of the poetry and experimental fiction
that commercial publishers used to present. Popular
history books and television programs draw on schol-
arly research. The strains of Aaron Copland and Shaker
hymns are heard on television advertising. Visual art-
ists recognized in museum shows are then represented
by commercial galleries; the reverse is also true.
This flowing exchange among the amateur, non-
profit and commercial segments of culture deserves
special attention because it expands our understand-
ing of how culture operates and of the many avenues
for participation. The President's Committee observes
that amateur activity enlivens community life and cul-
tivates deeper appreciation of the arts and the humani-
ties. Non-profit organizations offer some separation
from marketplace demands, allowing the artists and
humanists whom they employ to experiment, develop
followings for new productions and revive historical
material. Commercial enterprises require substantial
investment and take significant risks; many have suc-
ceeded in bringing new talent to greater audiences,
widening opportunities for American designers, writ-
ers, historians, musicians, dancers, actors and others.
Commercial firms influence the rest of culture and
are influenced by it.
Oprah Winfrey's new television "Book Club" is a
dramatic example of the dynamic between the ability
of the entertainment industry to reach a large audi-
ence and the public hunger for ideas and literary con-
tent. Oprah's first book selection, Jacquelyn
Mitchard's The Deep End of the Ocean, leaped to the New
York Times bestseller list. Oprah's second choice, Toni
Morrison's Song of Solomon, a book about the black
experience in America, more than matched this suc-
cess. Following Toni Morrison's appearance on the
Opera Winfrey show, 16,070 books were sold in one
day. The Washington Post reported that Song of Solomon
is now being sold at Wal Marts and Price Clubs, "places
no Nobel winner has ever been."
The interplay between non-profit and commer-
cial arts is dramatically revealed in the relationship
between non-profit the-
aters and Broadway's com-
mercial theaters. Because
the economics of Broadway
work against the develop-
ment of plays, the task of
producing much new work
falls to the nation's non-
profit regional theaters.
Over the past twenty years, 44 percent of the new plays
produced on Broadway originated in the non-profit
sector. We note that the peak period of importing
plays from non-profit theaters — the mid 1970s and
early 1980s — coincided with the high point of grant-
making activity by the National Endowment of the Arts
to regional theaters.
Hollywood, too, draws upon stories and talent de-
veloped in the non-profit sector, although there are
no studies which describe this relationship precisely.
Examples of plays produced in non-profit theaters and
later made into movies are: Driving Miss Daisy, Gin
Game, On Golden Pond, Children of a Lesser God, Glengarry
Glen Ross, and Prelude to a Kiss.
In publishing — where the United States is the larg-
est market for books in the world, with sales reaching
an estimated 20 billion dollars in 1995 — there is also a
close relationship between the non-profit sector and
the commercial field. In the last 35 years, commercial
publishers have become part of large conglomerates
which, emphasizing higher profit margins and more
rapid returns on their investments, concentrate re-
sources on mass market books. New work in fiction,
Over the past twenty
~ irs, 44 percent of the
n plays produced on
Broadway originated in the
poetry, translation and on scholarly subjects is now pub-
lished by literary journals, universities or independent
presses. The smaller and non-profit presses have be-
come the stepping stones for many writers on their way
to public attention. In 1996, only one of the nominees
for the National Book Award in poetry emanated from
a large commercial publisher; the other nominees were
published by non-profit and other small presses.
There are other examples of the interrelatedness
of cultural production. For many painters and sculp-
tors, success in a commercial gallery is preceded by
years of hard work with non-profit venues in college
galleries or community centers. The sheet music and
instruments produced by commercial publishers and
manufacturers have a solid market among amateur and
non-profit musical groups and schools.
We note that the copyright industries — motion
pictures and television, the music recording industry,
publishing and advertising, and computer software —
constitute one of the fastest
growing segments of the
American economy. The
motion picture and televi-
sion industry has already
become one of the most sig-
nificant export industries in
the United States and has
supplanted the aerospace
and defense industry as the leading employer in the
Los Angeles area. The entertainment industry is a dy-
namic force in the business world, linked to a wide ar-
ray of other industries, such as telecommunications, con-
sumer products, retail and fashion.
The relationship these brief examples imply is one
that should be examined with more research. The
President's Committee urges a greater dialogue among
the amateur, non-profit and commercial creative sec-
tors to explore their common interests, cooperate to
preserve cultural material, and perhaps form new part-
nerships to present the arts and the humanities to a
We believe that the future vitality of American cul-
tural life will depend on the capacity of our society to
nourish amateur participation, to maintain a healthy
non-profit sector, and to encourage innovation in
commericial creative industries.
Interdependent Support System
The nation's cultural support system is a complex struc-
ture pieced together from many different sources:
earned income; contributions from individuals,
corporations and foundations; and grants from local,
state and federal governments. The entire system is
interdependent, operating in "synergistic combination,"
with public and private donor sectors influencing each
other and funding different parts within the whole.
Cultural life is affected by the same forces as the
rest of society. Factors such as the rate of economic
growth, income inequality, stresses on leisure time and
a decline in the habit of civic participation all affect
active involvement in the arts and the humanities and
the earned income of cultural organizations. A strong
economy means more discretionary income for cul-
tural experiences, travel and entertainment. Contin-
ued economic growth boosts the endowment funds of
arts and humanities organizations fortunate enough
to have them.
Held up by a fragile web of many interdepen-
dent strands of support, non-profit cultural
organizations are as sensitive to these factors as are
other non-profit organizations at the heart of
America's public life. This extensive not-for-profit
sector is independent of government, yet often
carries out joint purposes with federal, state and
local governments. There are thousands of such
organizations in this country, providing health care
and other services, educating youth, conserving
history and presenting our culture. Millions of
Americans participate in or are employed by this
sector, whether they work at a library, help build
houses for low-income citizens or serve as guides
Like other non-profit entities, cultural organiza-
tions exist for public benefit rather than to make
money. Unlike business enterprises, no part of their
"net earnings... inures to the benefit of any private
shareholder or individual." (IRS code) And as part
of the non-profit sector, cultural organizations will
never earn enough money to cover all their expenses.
They do not survive in the marketplace alone. As
Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. said in his 1988 Nancy Hanks
Lecture, "...the most precious institutions in society
— our schools, universities, hospitals, clinics, librar-
ies, museums and churches — are precisely those that
do not earn their own way. All are characterized by
the fatal gap between earned income and operating
costs. Our civilization depends on activities that en-
rich the nation even if they do not meet the box of-
It is difficult for some Americans to accept the
notion that the portion of our cultural life that is nur-
tured by non-profit organizations requires subsidy.
Why subsidy is necessary has been persuasively ex-
plained by economist William J. Baumol in his analy-
sis of the performing arts. The arts are "handicraft
activities," not affected by labor-saving progress. Cul-
tural organizations cannot reduce labor costs or in-
crease productivity enough to make up for inflation.
This "cost disease" means that non-profit cultural
organizations never earn as much as they spend.
Colleges and universities are in a similar situation;
tuition cannot possibly cover the entire cost of edu-
cating students. Some highly valued institutions in
our society, such as libraries and research institutions,
have few sources of earned income.
Our complex, interdependent support system
relies heavily on private contributions. Yet there are
worrisome signs that new generations and newly
profitable businesses are not carrying on the ethic of
giving. We see a need for the renewal of American
philanthropy. We also believe that families, and reli-
gious, educational and charitable organizations have
a responsibility to teach the ethic of philanthropy and
voluntarism: to reinforce the understanding that
people have the obligation to support that from which
they derive benefits.
Although government does not play the major
role in funding culture, government influences cul-
tural development in many ways. The health of
non-profit organizations — including private
foundations — depends in no small part on
government policies that value their role in soci-
ety and help them to flourish. If the role of the
MOTHEREAD, Inc., a literacy project supported by the North Carolina
Humanities Council, teaches reading skills in a family setting.
Photo courtesy, MOTHEREAD, Inc.
We conclude, however,
that there is no "silver
bullet," no new source or
structure that will replace
the complex support
system that is so unique
federal government in cultural development is
modest, it is nonetheless critical. For government
funding is a signal to the rest of society that a vital
culture is worth supporting.
The increased needs of our society mean that
many worthy causes are competing for both govern-
ment funds and private contributions. The
President's Committee investigated many ways for
cultural organizations to earn more income and to
develop new sources of financial support. We found
some room for expanding earned income. And
there are ideas for new resources that merit more
exploration. We conclude, however, that there is
no "silver bullet," no new source or structure that
will replace the complex support system that is so
unique to America and that generates such a wealth
of cultural capital.
The Cultural Sector:
Assets and Deficiencies
In preparing Creative America, the President's Com-
mittee examined the strengths and weaknesses of
our cultural support system. Although millions of
Americans participate in the humanities and the arts
every day and find their lives and communities en-
riched, there are still barriers that inhibit participa-
tion. We are particularly concerned about cultural
activities in the non-profit realm, for without pri-
vate or public support they cannot be sustained. In
size, scope and participation, the cultural sector
demonstrates vitality; but it also shows symptoms of
stress and instability that must be addressed if we
are to preserve cultural capital and encourage new
creativity for the next century.
The United States begins these tasks with significant
assets in place:
>■ resilient and innovative cultural organizations
>- a rich variety of cultural communities and
>• talented and dedicated artists and scholars
>• compelling findings that demonstrate the positive
effects of arts and humanities education on
children's learning and behavior
>• a tradition of giving and volunteering
>■ increasing local and state support for the arts and
>■ a dynamic entertainment industry that employs
creative talent and has the potential for partner-
ships with the non-profit sector.
The deficiencies in our cultural development include:
>■ fragile and threatened cultural institutions
>- loss of cultural heritage and traditions
>* undercompensated and under-employed artists
>• lack of meaningful arts education for a substan-
tial number of children; weakening of the humani-
ties core curriculum
>- economic pressures on Americans' discretionary
incomes, pressures on leisure time
>• stagnating philanthropy and voluntarism
>■ a lack of value for the role of culture in society,
signalled by the federal government's reduced
>- a climate of intolerance for challenging works and ideas.
The members of the President's Committee be-
lieve that America's future will be strengthened by a
renewed commitment to our cultural life. Fortunately
for our citizens, the United States is prospering today.
The nation is at peace and although not everyone is
sharing in its benefits, the economy is growing. If as a
society we value the contributions of the arts and the
humanities, we can afford to invest in them. We are
rich in resources and spirit; we can afford to cham-
pion a Creative America.
Assuring Cultural Leadership
in the New Millennium
t the convergence of a new century and a
I new millennium, America will reflect on its
past and celebrate the future. What better
way to understand the lessons of history and to imag-
ine the future than through the humanities and the
arts? Our cultural heritage defines us as Americans.
The history of each American is America's history.
We are a "nation of nations" — a people of peoples
from different backgrounds who have forged com-
mon bonds. The years leading up to 2000 are a time
during which we can examine the abundant terrain
of human thought and expression to find ideas, im-
ages and stories of significance to our lives. We can
use the arts and the humanities to connect us to our
past and to reveal the future in all its possibilities.
The 20th century has witnessed a burst of Ameri-
can creativity. The United States now stands as a
world leader in the arts and the humanities as well as
in the scientific, economic, and political realms. The
millennium provides an opportunity to ensure the
continued greatness of our national cultural life and
preserve our accomplishments for future genera-
tions. We in the United States must seize this mo-
ment to take stock of what our country has achieved
in the arts and the humanities and to summon our
best artists and scholars to envisage our future.
As we approach the next century, the White
House can provide special leadership, through a
national Millennium Initiative, for the American
people to appreciate our common heritage and re-
joice in our creativity. Led by the President, this
Millennium Initiative would celebrate American
ideas and art, culminating in a magnificent series
of events spanning the years 2000 to 2001.
Historical precedents — such as the Columbian
Exposition of 1893 in Chicago which commissioned
new work by America's leading artists and architects
and convened an international congress of scholars
The creative thought process at work in a workshop at the High Museum
of Art in Atlanta, Georgia.
Photo courtesy of High Museum of Art
and scientists, or the centennial celebration of Ameri-
can Independence in Philadelphia in 1876 — dem-
onstrate that anniversaries can leave lasting marks on
the nation's cultural landscape. Great Britain and
other countries are already preparing their own im-
pressive national undertakings, providing funds for
new museums, performing arts centers and educa-
tional programs that will enrich their cultures for
years to come.
Americans deserve no less a commitment to
their future. The arts and the humanities in the
United States face serious problems today. There
are financial and other threats on the horizon that,
if not confronted, will undermine our artistic and
educational institutions and their accomplish-
ments. The Millennium Initiative could address
many of these threats.
The President's Committee recognizes that one
of the major challenges today is the need to respect
our ethnic and cultural differences while embracing
the commonalities that define us as Americans. We
believe that the arts and the humanities provide par-
ticularly effective means to create understanding
among the diverse cultures that make up American
A Millennium Initiative offers another oppor-
tunity to provide access to our cultural heritage
through new technologies. The President and Vice
President have issued a challenge to connect ev-
ery library, schoolroom and child to the Internet
by the year 2001 . New technologies will not reach
their full potential unless enriched by cultural
content. If access to libraries, museums, archives
and performing arts centers can be made avail-
able to every American, no matter how distant
from major cultural centers, the possibilities for
learning and enlightenment are exciting.
The President's Committee proposes that the United
States observe the passage to the next century and
the next one thousand years with a national Millen-
nium Initiative to celebrate American ideas and ar-
tistic achievement. The prestige of the White House
makes it the logical focal point for this initiative. Presi-
dential leadership would give crucial impetus to this
national cultural celebration and enable it to reach
all segments of our society.
>- We recommend that the President lead the Mil-
lennium Initiative by calling upon individual citi-
zens, local communities, state governments, fed-
eral agencies, and private sector partners to cre-
ate Millennium programs that reflect upon and
celebrate America's unique cultural heritage.
>• We recommend that over the next four years, the
White House showcase outstanding examples of
American art and scholarship.
>- We further recommend that the President call
upon citizens in every community to identify their
local traditions, history and folk creations that
should be preserved as our legacy to the 21st cen-
>• We recommend that the commercial and non-
profit organizations that produce or own much
of our cultural material take steps to preserve
their holdings for future generations.
>• We recommend that new artistic work and schol-
arship be commissioned to celebrate the Millen-
nium and to envision the future.
>- We recommend the creation of public-private
partnerships to ensure that America's cultural
resources be made available through new in-
teractive technologies such as the Internet and
the World Wide Web. The Millennium Initia-
tive could use these technologies to invite the
participation of Americans in every part of the
The President's Committee pledges its support
to find ways to implement these recommendations
over the next four years.
As part of the proposed Millennium Initiative,
the President's Committee offers five sets of recom-
mendations we believe will enable the United States
to sustain its rich cultural heritage into the next cen-
tury. These five steps to the future that Americans
can take together are:
>■ Educating Our Youth for the Future
>■ Investing in Cultural Capital
>• Renewing American Philanthropy
>■ Affirming the Public Role
>■ Expanding International Cultural Relations
EDUCATING OUR YOUTH
FOR THE FUTURE
The President's Committee believes the arts and the
humanities should be part of the education of every
child in America. The disciplines of the humanities
and the arts are as essential to a complete education
as mathematics and science. To encourage creativity
and critical thinking and to instill a love of learning
as well as impart basic skills — all are goals of an
American education. The disciplines of the humani-
ties such as history, philosophy and literature help
students develop the critical thinking they will need
to participate in our democracy. Through the arts
students learn to express ideas in non-verbal forms,
create multiple solutions to problems, and work
collaboratively. Both the humanities and the arts de-
velop skills that are needed for a competitive
workforce in the next century.
Despite progress in some areas, the United
States is not meeting the bipartisan educational goals
set by the nation's governors and affirmed by two
successive administrations. Arts education is under-
funded and humanities subjects are not adequately
taught. America can and must do better for its stu-
dents now and by the year 2000.
Arts Education Today
In K-l 2 education some positive steps are being taken
to strengthen arts education at the national and state
levels. Forty-four states and the District of Columbia
have adopted voluntary national standards in the arts
as outlined in the Goals 2000: Educate America Act.
The President's Committee supports these efforts to
balance local control of education with the develop-
ment of high voluntary standards and benchmarks
in visual arts, dance music and theater.
The decision to include regular evaluations of
student knowledge of the arts in the National Assess-
ment of Educational Progress, a diagnostic test ad-
ministered by the United States Department of Edu-
cation, is a welcome step forward.
Although the arts are recognized as an essential
part of the curriculum in the Goals 2000 legislation,
the gap between that goal and the actual practice of
arts education in classrooms is wide. Arts education
in many of the nation's 15,000 school districts remains
impoverished or non-existent. Many school systems,
including those in our largest urban centers, do not
employ enough specialists to teach the disciplines and
history of the arts, even where such instruction
In schools that do offer the arts, music and the
visual arts are more common than dance and the-
ater. Many schools give their music and art teachers
astronomical student loads and unmanageable class
sizes while asking these teachers to travel to different
schools every week. In Boston elementary schools,
one music teacher is responsible on average for over
800 students. In Denver the ratio is one to 700 stu-
dents; in Montgomery County, Maryland, one to 557
students. The average amount of time spent on mu-
sic has fallen by 29% in the last 35 years, and most
elementary schools with music programs offer less
than 90 minutes a week, the minimum time neces-
sary for proficiency.
Our nation's future cultural life depends on the
kind of education our young people receive today.
Arts education is one of the strongest predictors of
later audience participation. Without providing
meaningful arts education, we rob generations of the
potential to enjoy the arts throughout their lives, and
our cultural institutions will face huge challenges in
Photo courtesy of The Toledo Symphony, Toledo, Ohio.
developing the audiences, volunteers, and donors of
Humanities Education Today
The President's Committee recognizes that many of the
disciplines of the humanities are included in the school
curriculum; history and literature are often required
subjects. The teaching of literature, American and world
history, and foreign languages must be dramatically im-
proved, however, to prepare American students for the
world and workplace of the 21st century.
For example, the National Education Goals Panel
— the bipartisan national group that annually mea-
sures educational progress and issues the "nation's
report card" — found that only one of every ten high
The 1991 SCANS Report issued by the
U.S. Department of Labor and the
business community called for certain
competencies and skills needed for
solid job performance.
Competent workers in the high-perfor-
mance workplace need:
• Basic Skills — reading, writing, arithmetic
and mathematics, speaking, and listening.
• Thinking Skills — the ability to learn, to
reason, to think creatively, to make
decisions, and to solve problems.
• Personal Qualities — individual responsibility,
self-esteem and self-management,
sociability, and integrity.
— from U.S. Department of Labor,
the Secretary's Commission on Achieving
Necessary Skills, What Work Requires of
Schools: A SCANS Report for America 2000
The President's Committee believes
many communication, thinking, and
management skills are enhanced by
the arts and the humanities.
school seniors in 1994 demonstrated proficiency in
The study of modern foreign languages at all lev-
els is woefully inadequate. In recent years the study
of Russian, and even German and French, has been
declining in the nation's colleges. Although the study
of Japanese has risen in recent years, only slightly
more than 1,000 students pursue the language be-
yond the second year, unlike the nearly universal and
intense study of English in Japanese schools.
Business firms report that many high school
graduates enter the job market without adequate
reading comprehension and with limited abilities
in oral and written expression. Colleges and univer-
sities are compelled to spend too much time on re-
medial work. Without basic reading and writing
skills, any appreciation of the humanities is severely
In the nation's colleges and universities, the
humanities curriculum, which with science and
mathematics should be at the heart of a college edu-
cation, is shrinking while vocational and pre-
professional courses are increasing.
Research on the Arts,
Humanities and Learning
Researchers are demonstrating there are many ways
that children learn; teachers can reach students
through their spatial, musical, kinesthetic and linguis-
tic "intelligences." Educators observe that students
develop creative thinking through the arts and trans-
fer that capacity to other subjects. Studies also show
that when the arts are a strong component of the
school environment, drop-out rates and absenteeism
When offered a challenging arts curriculum,
children with special talent can excel in such
schools as the Duke Ellington School for the Per-
forming Arts in Washington, D.C. or the North
Carolina School of the Arts.
Research shows that schools offering the arts in
their basic curricula can measure improvements in
learning. The College Board reported that students
who studied the arts for more than four years out-
performed non-arts students on the Scholastic Apti-
tude Test (SAT) . A study in Rhode Island of first grad-
ers who participated in special music and visual arts
classes demonstrated that their reading and math-
ematics skills increased dramatically compared to stu-
dents without this enhanced curriculum.
Although research on how the arts help students
learn continues to appear, more resources are needed
to document more fully the benefits of arts education.
An evaluation of the Los Angeles "Humanitas
Program," a broad humanities curriculum relating
literature, social studies, and the arts, showed impres-
sive gains by the participants. With 3,500 students
involved in this project, the Humanitas Program stu-
dents wrote essays of higher quality, showed more
conceptual understanding of history, and made more
interdisciplinary references than students not in the
The President's Committee observes a link
between education in the humanities and the active
participation of citizens in our democracy. Our com-
mon principles of individual freedom, equality of
opportunity and self-governance can be kept alive
only by a culturally alert and reflective people. Knowl-
edge of history, literature, philosophy and languages
develops the skills of reason, clear expression and in-
formed choices that characterize effective citizenship.
In Our Communities
While the President's Committee is concerned about
the preparation of all American children for the fu-
ture, we take special note of the millions of children
growing up in poverty. These children are the most
likely to attend inadequate schools, fall behind in
their schooling, and live in resource-poor communi-
ties. If these students fail to learn, there will be grave
consequences not only for their lives but for our en-
tire society as well.
The power of the arts and the humanities to de-
velop creativity, help close the "opportunity gap," and
prepare all children for productive futures is well-
documented in the Committee's report, Coming Up
Taller: Arts and Humanities Programs for Children and
Youth At Risk. This study reveals the often heroic work
that many arts, humanities and community organi-
zations perform to serve at-risk youth. More public
and private investment in these programs can pro-
vide creative alternatives to destructive behavior and
divert some young people from gangs, drug use,
crime and other anti-social behavior.
The evidence indicates that important learning
through the arts occurs in programs outside the
schools. A ten year study of commUnity-based youth
organizations documented the power of the arts to
transform educational achievement. When com-
pared to a national sample, youth participating in
programs with arts activities were twice as likely to
win an academic achievement award, four times more
likely to participate in a science or mathematics fair,
and eight times more likely to receive a community
Partners in Learning
Business groups are taking a leading role in the na-
tional effort to reform American education. Many
corporate executives understand that today's competi-
tive international marketplace demands workers whose
education develops their critical thinking, problem-
solving abilities, creativity and interpersonal acumen.
The humanities and the arts are essential to cultivat-
ing these attributes.
Many private foundations are devoting resources
to imaginative models to improve humanities cur-
ricula, to integrate the arts into schools and to create
partnerships between schools and cultural organiza-
tions. The Getty Education Institute for the Arts
spearheaded the Ohio Partnership for the Visual Arts,
one of seven such coalitions, by working with Ohio
State University, local foundations, and four school
districts to prepare visual arts teachers to integrate
aesthetics, criticism and history into art-making in
Teachers in the arts and the humanities need the
time and resources to participate in professional
development to enrich their own knowledge and
to gain practical ideas for their classrooms. At the
community level, innovative partnerships have
formed among some universities, cultural institu-
tions, and school districts. Yale University and the
public schools of New Haven, Connecticut have
worked in partnership since 1978 to strengthen
teaching in the city's schools. The Yale-New Ha-
ven Teachers Institute brings college faculty and
school teachers together on an equal footing to de-
velop new course material in the humanities and
the sciences, and to discuss issues chosen by the
Across the nation cultural institutions, including
libraries and museums, are also developing programs
to provide teachers more resources in the classroom.
In Oakland, California, the city museum is develop-
ing a curriculum on immigration in collaboration
with the Oakland Unified School District. "Califor-
nia Newcomers," a fourth grade unit, integrates ma-
terial from the Oakland Museum's history collections
with state guidelines for history and social studies.
The Michigan Historical Museum in Lansing makes
its collections available on-line for teachers and stu-
dents. The museum's "virtual exhibit" on the Great
Depression, with photos and other images from the
period, includes background information written
specifically for junior high school students who can
gain access to this resource from classroom comput-
ers. Each year the Newberry Library in Chicago spon-
sors the Chicago Metro History Fair and offers a num-
ber of teacher institutes on subjects ranging from the
history of American Indians to medieval romances
and tales of King Arthur's Court.
The federal cultural agencies have created na-
tionally recognized programs for teachers. The Na-
tional Endowment for the Humanities — in addition
to providing funds to the Yale-New Haven Institute,
National History Day, and other exemplary programs
— has supported over 1,000 summer seminars and
institutes at locations around the country, and these
programs to date have served over 20,000 school
teachers. The Institute of Museum and Library Ser-
vices encourages partnerships between museums and
schools through its awards and recognition programs.
The Library of Congress is making materials from its
collection widely available to teachers and students
through electronic databases, while the Smithsonian
Institution, which has long served as a magnet for
school groups and teachers, develops educational
programs in conjunction with its changing exhibi-
tions. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Perform-
ing Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts
created ArtsEdge, an on-line network which encour-
ages art teachers to learn from each other. The Na-
tional Gallery of Art draws on its collections to create
excellent materials in the visual arts and provides ser-
vices to art teachers through workshops and confer-
Students from Bakersfield, California dramatize events from the Warsaw
Ghetto uprising for the 1996 National History Day competition.
Photo courtesy of National History Day and the University of Maryland, College Park, MD.
To ensure American children an education that will pre-
pare them for the challenges of the 21st century, the
President 's Committee proposes the following steps to edu-
cational institutions and community leaders:
>* Require coursework in the arts for high school
graduation; include the arts and the humanities
in college entrance requirements; oblige elemen-
tary teachers to complete coursework in the arts
>■ Set high local, state and national standards to
evaluate students' progress through periodic as-
sessments at all levels, using the National Assess-
ment of Educational Progress as a guideline.
>■ Teach America's cultural traditions at every level
and help enlarge students' understanding of the
history and culture of other countries.
>• Require competency in a foreign language for
high school graduation and entrance into col-
>- Conduct research on the effects of learning
through the arts on student achievement, indi-
vidual development and positive social behavior.
>• Support programs that offer advanced training
in the arts and humanities for students with spe-
We recommend partnerships to:
>• Provide professional development for teachers.
We urge strengthening existing programs at the
Department of Education, National Endowment
for the Humanities, and National Endowment
for the Arts. In particular, the Eisenhower
professional development programs at the De-
partment of Education should be expanded to
include teachers in the arts and the humanities
as well as in mathematics and science.
>■ Include the arts and the humanities in programs
that enhance the development of children, and
improve their readiness for school and
for entering the workforce. We recommend ex-
panding collaborations among federal cultural
agencies and other federal agencies that admin-
ister programs affecting children and youth, such
as the Department of Justice, Department of
Health and Human Services, Department of La-
bor, and the Department of Housing and Urban
Development. These collaborations should op-
erate at the state and local levels as well.
Expand programs, especially for at-risk youth,
both in schools and in settings outside school,
using artists and scholars, and in partnership with
Improve instruction in the arts and the humani-
ties by encouraging colleges, universities and cul-
tural organizations to cooperate with local school
systems. Provide incentives to college and uni-
versity faculty to develop collaborations with
school teachers, educational administrators, and
Extend business-education partnerships that cre-
ate programs to support the arts and the humani-
ties in the nation's schools.
IN CULTURAL CAPITAL
Our nation has accumulated a vast treasure of "cul-
tural capital." America's cultural capital consists of
artistic and intellectual property — from philosophy
texts to films, from adobe architecture to jazz record-
ings. Our cultural holdings include many thousands
of organizations that employ artists and scholars and
present cultural materials. Most important is human
capital: the individual artists and scholars who produce
The health of our cultural life in the 21st cen-
tury will depend on the investments we make today.
Our cultural support system depends on many inter-
related parts: organizations, individuals, and diverse
sources of financing. Yet recent trends are eroding
the foundations of this structure, leaving it balanced
precariously. If significant assets are weakened or lost,
rebuilding society's cultural wealth will take years.
The Creative Individual
Artists and scholars require supportive environments
to create new work. To sustain our cultural life in
the 21st century, we must take steps now to ensure
"Faith and Science on the Midway," Liz Lerman Dance Exchange,
Photo © 1995 Beatriz Schiller.
that the talents of individual artists and scholars are
nurtured. The contributions of creators are often
undervalued. A good case can be made that our cul-
tural life is underwritten by the undercompensated
labor of artists and scholars. Despite the highly pub-
licized — and deeply misleading — examples of mu-
sicians, opera singers, or authors who earn millions
of dollars, the average working artist usually finds only
intermittent work and must often supplement his or
her profession with a second job.
An extensive survey of 12,000 craft artists, actors
and painters found that the vast majority earned less
than $20,000 per year from their work. Only 28% of
Actors Equity members sampled in the survey made
more than $20,000 per year. Over 90% of the painters
earned less than $20,000, and nearly three-fourths
made only $7,000 or less a year from sales of their work.
Humanities scholars who find employment in the
university fare better than many artists, but too many
young scholars fail to gain a secure foothold. Colleges
increasingly keep costs down by offering temporary
teaching assignments. University faculties in the hu-
manities are polarized between a tenured group and a
swelling corps of adjunct or temporary professors who
often teach on a part-time basis without health care or
other benefits, and whose average salary falls far below
that of other university disciplines.
Folk artists and "tradition-bearers" who pass on
wisdom in a culture often receive no compensation
at all. Some share their skills for "the love of it" and
to keep their knowledge alive within the community.
But by recognizing and compensating tradition-bear-
ers, society will enhance the perpetuation of folk cul-
Institutions and Infrastructure
The United States benefits from a large and
varied "cultural sector," which comprises amateur
associations, non-profit cultural groups — including
libraries, institutions of higher education, historic
preservation and public broadcasting organizations —
and portions of commercial creative industries.
A rich array of institutions supports artists and
their work. These institutions include museums and
galleries, orchestras, opera companies and other
musical groups, dance ensembles, theaters, and the
sponsoring organizations that present artwork to the
community. Cultural capital exists at every level of
society, from neighborhood groups to international
touring companies. Also integral to the continued
development of America's artistic wealth are the art-
ists colonies, professional training programs, and edu-
cational institutions which hone creative talent and
allow artists to share their work with the public.
Similarly, the humanities require an infrastructure
of public and private institutions, including colleges and
universities, libraries, centers for advanced research,
non-profit presses, museums and historical societies, all
of which support scholarly work and present it to
We find that institutions of higher education con-
stitute a crucial, but often overlooked, part of the
nation's cultural infrastructure. Although America's
universities provide the overwhelming majority of
support for research and teaching in the humanities,
the humanities are losing ground in the academy and
find few external sources of funding. Support for
the humanities and for liberal arts education gener-
ally is eroding as universities respond to market pres-
sures and shift resources to vocational courses and to
departments that attract substantial research dollars.
In addition to their indispensable role in
supporting humanities scholars, colleges and univer-
sities are increasingly the employers of artists and
writers, providing them salaries, offices, rehearsal
space, studios and access to audiences. In many
towns, colleges are often the leading cultural centers.
For example, colleges and universities now sponsor
nearly one-third of all chamber music concerts.
The nation's libraries also preserve our cultural
capital. Public libraries offer opportunities for lifelong
learning and strengthen civil society by fostering a sense
of community in our townsjust as surely as the research
library plays a central role in building communities of
scholars. Teaching and research in the humanities de-
pend on the library, but university research libraries face
rising costs and reduced budgets. These trends dispro-
portionately affect the humanities faculty, as libraries
purchase fewer of their professional journals and books.
America's independent research libraries and
centers for advanced study are also essential to the
humanities, but these unique institutions are espe-
cially vulnerable because they lack sources of earned
income or the resources available to colleges and
universities. The travails of the New-York Historical
Society, which to stabilize its finances was forced to
close its doors temporarily, dismiss staff and sell part
of its collection, provide a dramatic example of how
precarious the health of many historical societies
and private libraries remains. An Andrew W. Mellon
Foundation study of five leading independent
research libraries found that, to cover operating
Advertisement courtesy of the San Francisco Opera.
SOURCES OF INCOME, 1995
expenses, three were running deficits and depleting
The Ecology of Culture:
A Fragile Environment
Without this interrelated network of cultural
organizations, most Americans would not be able to
participate in the humanities and the arts. Cultural
organizations are being challenged on several sides:
changing demographics, stagnating contributions and
reduced government support. To survive in this un-
stable climate, many are reassessing their missions and
searching hard for innovative ways to reach new
audiences and increase both earned and contributed
Each year non-profit organizations must piece
their budgets together from many sources: donations
by individual patrons, foundations and corporate
sources; government grants; and earned income,
such as ticket sales, gift sales, tuition and other fees.
As public subsidies decline and grants become more
difficult to obtain, earned income plays an increas-
ingly significant role. Performing arts organizations
earn a substantial part of their operating budgets,
ranging from an average of 47% in many dance com-
panies to 62% for theaters. As pressures to earn more
income mount, museums, libraries, and performing
arts organizations are producing ancillary products,
such as videotapes, recordings and books both to gen-
erate revenues and further their educational mis-
sions. To create new resources for their non-profit
activities, some organizations are creating for-profit
Two Minnesota organizations illustrate different
approaches to earned income. The Minnesota Or-
chestra produced On the Day You Were Born, the first of
its educational videos that introduce symphonic mu-
sic to children. The series will both pay back the in-
vestment and produce revenue for the non-profit or-
chestral association. Minnesota Public Radio has
formed a for-profit company to market goods nation-
ally through catalog sales, a tax-paying venture which
gives its earnings to the non-profit radio system.
The ability of many cultural organizations to
juggle grant proposals, special events, and their daily
operations obscures how fragile the ecology of sup-
port is becoming. There are limits to earned income
strategies. As our case study of one theater company
in Chicago demonstrates, even sold-out performances
do not cover operating expenses. For non-profit cul-
tural organizations, raising ticket prices is ultimately
H Private Contributions
□ Government Funds
□ Earned Income
Source: data on 1994-95 season from surveys of member organizations
by Choral America, Theatre Communications Group, American
Symphony Orchestra League, American Association of Museums,
and Opera America. Numbers may not add to 100% due to
HOW MUCH DOES A PLAY COST?
The Goodman Theatre of Chicago sold 99.5% of available
tickets for a recent production of The House of Martin Guerre.
Ticket sales covered only two-thirds of the costs.
Ticket Sales = 65%
Income Gap = 35%
Source: Goodman Theatre; Adapted from "The Chicago Tribune.
self-defeating as higher ticket prices gradually exclude
more of the general public.
Recent well-publicized audience studies have un-
derlined the problems that performing arts groups face
in trying to maintain existing ticket sales. Although
higher education levels might be expected to bring
greater numbers of patrons to the arts and the humani-
ties, census data and other surveys suggest that the "baby
boomer" generation does not attend cultural events with
the same regularity as its predecessors.
Opera companies have experienced dramatic
growth in paid admissions in the past decade, but
symphonies and theaters around the country report
attendance levels that show little or no growth.
Dance companies, many of which depend on tour-
ing, face special hurdles. Declining leisure time, an
aging population, and the widespread availability of
compact disks, videotapes, and other electronic me-
dia are eroding the audience for many performing
Yet at the same time, more Americans of all ages
are attending arts, history and science exhibitions.
Museum visits seem to fit more readily into the
crowded schedules of many baby boomers, and ad-
mission fees to most museums cost less than a movie
Cultural organizations are becoming more
sophisticated at marketing. Arts groups in the
Research Triangle area of North Carolina are
conducting a three-county survey of local house-
holds to identify potential customers among new-
comers to the rapidly growing region. The San
Antonio Symphony has shifted its programming
to appeal more to the city's large Hispanic popu-
lation. The San Francisco Opera employs witty
advertising, an extensive volunteer campaign, and
educational programs to lure younger audiences
to its performances of La Boheme and other clas-
sics in its repertoire.
As America's population changes, cultural orga-
nizations must adapt by reaching out to new audi-
ences and by developing new leaders and donors from
all segments of society.
Technology and Preservation:
Two Priorities for the New Century
The United States is leading the world in the elec-
tronic communications revolution. Every day more
Americans are searching for information and "chat-
ting" with each other on the Internet and the World
Wide Web. Already, over 15 million American
households are connected to the Internet. The data,
imagery, and sounds conveyed by these new technolo-
gies will shape our concepts of culture and will influ-
ence citizen participation in our democracy.
The President's Committee believes that as new
technologies advance, artists and humanists, with
their expertise in organizing complex ideas and their
skills in the use of symbols and visual material, must
be at the forefront of this development. Agreements
between creators of content and telecommunications
providers on methods of compensating scholars and
artists for electronic use of their works and on appro-
priate "fair use" (limited copying by students and edu-
cators) will encourage the free flow of ideas.
The new technologies offer access for millions
of Americans to know and enjoy the arts and the hu-
manities. The Library of Congress is beginning to
digitize its vast collections for the public. Americans
contact its web site more than one million times a
day. The World Wide Web boasts images from art
collections, such as the Asian Arts web site, which com-
bines exhibitions, articles, and historical and aca-
demic information and is linked to schools and uni-
versities. Grants from the National Endowment for
the Humanities have helped create digitized images
of the Dead Sea Scrolls for CD-ROM editions and
distribution over the Internet, while students can now
find electronic databases on the Civil War,
Shakespeare, and ancient Greek classics.
This potential gain for learning will not be real-
ized unless we make new resources available to our
museums, arts organizations, libraries, and archives.
Cultural organizations do not have the funds to in-
vest in technology to digitize cultural material, and
market forces alone will not provide cultural
content of high quality for the information super-
highway. For technology to fulfill its potential to
enlighten individuals, we will need a massive pub-
lic-private partnership, making the rich resources
of the arts and the humanities available in digital
form. At the same time, the electronic transmis-
sion of cultural material should be enhanced by
telecommunications policies that make new
technologies more available to Americans.
The President's Committee is concerned about
preserving our heritage for future generations. Al-
though the number of museums and libraries is grow-
ing, the nation's artifacts, paintings, prints, drawings
and sculptures are literally cracking, chipping, and
eroding. Thousands of brittle books, manuscripts,
newspapers, and other documents are disintegrating
Before and after conservation: All Wars Memorial to Colored Soldiers and Sailors (1934), Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, PA.
Sculptor: J. Otto Schweitzer.
Courtesy of the Fairmount Park Art Association. Photograph Franko Khoury © 1 984.
in our libraries and archives. Historic monuments and
buildings continue to be destroyed. The National In-
stitute for Conservation estimates that almost half the
nation's 27,000 outdoor sculptures are deteriorating.
Our cultural heritage is not limited to objects and
artifacts. Cultural preservation also depends on the
memories and habits of living people. Native Ameri-
can languages are disappearing, and many forms of
folk art and traditional knowledge are endangered
by economic and social change. The ephemeral na-
ture of the performing arts poses special challenges
for documentation. Films, recordings and tapes in
private collections are often neglected. We need a
national commitment to preserve our cultural legacy.
If we succeed, future generations will praise us for
being good ancestors.
Commercial firms, such as those in the publish-
ing, recording, film and broadcast industries, own a
significant portion of America's cultural capital. The
interconnections among amateur groups, non-profit
cultural organizations and creative industries suggest
opportunities for them to cooperate, especially to
preserve our heritage. We believe the creative
commercial sector has an opportunity as well as re-
sponsibility to safeguard its historical holdings.
In the drive to provide "content" for software, some
entertainment companies have digitized older re-
cordings and restored classic American films.
Market pressures of these kinds may help preserve
some of America's cultural capital. The new tech-
nologies also suggest possibilities for expanded
partnerships between non-profit organizations and
for-profit companies working in the commercial arts.
Public-private partnerships to digitize cultural ma-
terial should plan for the future, given the rapid
changes in technology. Unlike the Rosetta Stone,
which has lasted for 22 centuries, digital storage
media can deteriorate quickly, with magnetic disks hav-
ing a shelf life of only 5 to 10 years. Cultural preserva-
tion partners should assure that older digital material
is adapted to developing technologies, so that future
generations may unlock the information of the past.
The President 's Committee calls upon public agencies
and the private sector to:
>• Support a national assessment of the nation's
preservation needs and devise long-term plans
to protect America's cultural legacy.
Provide support for individual fellowships to art-
ists and scholars. Congress should restore the
authority of the National Endowment for the Arts
to support individual artists.
Encourage creative individuals through grants
for commissions, studio and study space, health
insurance, and residencies at artists colonies, hu-
manities centers and research libraries.
Explore legislation to establish a new domestic
version of the Arts and Artifacts Indemnity Act,
to protect, in lieu of insurance, works from Ameri-
can museums when borrowed for exhibition by
other museums in the United States.
We call upon both cultural organizations and their
>• Reassess the missions of cultural organizations
to strengthen their capacities to survive in a
changing environment, including research,
mergers, reaching new audiences and develop-
ing new resources.
>• Invest in developing leadership for non-profit
cultural organizations, and in cooperation with
colleges and universities, provide training pro-
grams for a new generation of managers and
>• Recruit minority members for volunteer, profes-
sional or curatorial, and leadership positions.
We encourage colleges and universities to:
>■ Resist the overprofessionalization of the un-
dergraduate curriculum by strengthening the
liberal arts as an essential component of
We recommend that businesses and corporations:
>■ Compensate creators for works distributed as
part of transactions on the World Wide Web and
other electronic media; also support appropri-
ate "fair use" by scholars, educators, and stu-
dents. The President's Committee recognizes
that industry, government and professional or-
ganizations are discussing solutions to balance
the interests of the creative community and tele-
Implement a program to preserve books, record-
ings, videotapes films, historic properties and
other cultural materials they own.
Assist cultural organizations, either through
grants or in-kind donations, to strengthen their
capacities to use technology to reach new audi-
ences, and to digitize cultural material.
America's ethic of private philanthropy and voluntary
action is one of our noblest traditions. Giving and
voluntarism are activities indispensable to our civil so-
ciety and to the nature of American democracy.
In 1995, Americans contributed an estimated
$143.85 billion to all charities. The "arts, culture,
and humanities" sector of philanthropy received ap-
proximately $10 billion, or 7% of the total donations.
In 1994, individuals were responsible for 80% of funds
contributed to the arts and the humanities, founda-
tions for 13% and corporations for 7%.
For the past decade there have been disturbing
signs of a weakening philanthropic spirit. The aver-
age size of gifts from the wealthiest Americans is
decreasing. Independent Sector reports that the av-
erage charitable deduction claimed by taxpayers has
fallen in all income brackets over $50,000. Middle
income donors are playing a greater role in sustain-
ing America's traditionally high levels of private
giving. If society is to meet its pressing needs, overall
charitable giving must increase.
The arts and the humanities are more depen-
dent on private giving than many other segments of
the non-profit community. For example, many per-
forming arts groups receive as much as 40% of their
total incomes from donations, compared to 3 to 5%
for hospitals and an average of less than 20% for many
other non-profit organizations.
In 1995, when overall charitable giving increased
by 11%, private contributions to the arts and the hu-
manities, when adjusted for inflation, remained at
essentially the same level as the preceding year.
Giving by Corporations
Corporate giving to the arts and the humanities rose
in 1994 and 1995, after declining dramatically for
much of the previous decade. A 1996 survey of the
GIVING TO ARTS, CULTURE, AND HUMANITIES (ACH) 1989-
1 Aggregate giving (Foundation Center sample) $3,245
1 ACH giving (Foundation Center sample) $454
I ACH as % of total 14%
1 Humanities giving alone $35
Humanities as % of total 1.1%
Sources: Foundation Giving 1996, Grants Index 1994; (not adjusted for inflation). All $ in
150 largest American corporations — which alone
are responsible for over one-fifth of total corporate
giving — predicts that giving by larger businesses to
all causes will continue to rise.
Corporations also support cultural organiza-
tions and other non-profit causes through
sponsorships, cause-related marketing ventures and
in-kind contributions, such as donated equipment.
Corporate sponsorships, in which businesses tie
contributions to specific marketing objectives, are
growing in importance and at some companies may
be replacing traditional philanthropic giving. Spon-
sorships and donations from marketing budgets are
less easily measured and are not fully captured in
philanthropic surveys, but the growth of these forms
of corporate support has meant increased assistance
SOURCES OF PRIVATE GIVING
TO THE ARTS & HUMANITIES
Source: Giving USA. Based on 1994 data.
to some cultural organizations. Museum exhibitions
and performing arts events appear to benefit most
from corporate sponsorships. The humanities ben-
efit from corporate contributions to capital
campaigns for libraries and museums, to university
endowments and scholarship funds, and from cor-
porate sponsorship of educational broadcasting.
The increases in dollar terms of the past two years
mask a long-term decline in corporate giving. Cor-
porate philanthropic giving to all causes declined in
1995 when measured as a percentage of pre-tax in-
come and has been steadily diminishing since its peak
in 1986. That year corporate giving reached slightly
over 2%, the modest level recommended as early as
1975 by the Filer Commission on Philanthropy, the
last independent national commission concerned
with increasing private philanthropy.
This fall-off in corporate giving comes at a time
when corporate profits are robust and the American
economy remains the strongest among industrial nations.
In the thirty years since the Business Committee for the
Arts was established, thousands of new companies have
been formed. Yet some highly profitable industries have
failed to develop habits of charitable giving.
Over the past decade, foundations have proven the
only source of sustained increased giving to cultural
organizations. In recent years cultural organizations
have garnered approximately one of every seven
grants made by private foundations. Foundation giv-
ing to the arts grew dramatically in the 1980s, rising
by nearly 40%. This surge bypassed the humanities,
which received only 6 to 7% of total foundation con-
tributions to culture, and less than 1% of foundation
giving to all causes in 1995. Foundations support
DISTRIBUTION OF FOUNDATION GRANTS
Five states received more than half the arts dollars awarded by foundations in 1992.
Source: Arts Funding Revisited, 1 995
higher education, but the portion of grants that ben-
efits the humanities is not easy to identify.
Today the Foundation Center counts over
38,000 active foundations in the United States,
nearly 15,000 of which have been formed since 1980.
Overall giving by foundations has more than tripled,
from $3.4 billion to $11.3 billion, from 1980 to 1994.
Despite the proliferation in the number of founda-
tions, their resources remain highly concentrated.
In 1994 the thousand largest foundations held nearly
three-fourths of the assets, while 505 foundations
with assets over $50 million were responsible for half
the funding to charitable causes.
Foundation giving is also distributed unevenly
across the United States. Foundations in five states
are responsible for nearly two-thirds of all grant-mak-
ing to the arts and the humanities. Cultural organi-
zations in four states — New York, California, Penn-
sylvania, and Texas — and the District of Columbia
receive nearly 55% of all giving to the arts and the
humanities by foundations. Although some of the
largest foundations operate programs that are na-
tional in scope, most foundation giving is local and
tends to go to established organizations.
As cuts in the budgets of federal and state gov-
ernment place new burdens on the philanthropic
sector, the arts and the humanities face intense
competition from social services and other causes.
All foundations but one surveyed in Looking Ahead:
Private Sector Giving to the Arts and the Humanities, a
report issued by the President's Committee in 1996,
reported that they will not be able to increase their
contributions to culture. Several even predicted ac-
Community foundations, which direct funds from
many donors to address community needs, are one of
the fastest growing segments of the foundation world
and represent a potentially important new resource
for the arts and the humanities. The Community
Foundation of Santa Clara County, CA, has increased
endowments of arts organizations in the region
through challenge grants which helped these non-
profit groups raise private funds. Community foun-
dations educate donors about local issues and thereby
encourage philanthropy. In little more than twenty
years, the assets of these local funds have jumped from
one billion dollars to over $13 billion, and in 1995
funds given by donors to community foundations in-
creased by 51% over the previous year.
The growth in giving to private foundations gen-
erally has been spurred by a favorable federal tax
policy. Current provisions — which allow gifts of
appreciated stock to private foundations to be de-
ducted at their fair market value — must be extended
or made a permanent part of the tax code, or this
important incentive to giving will be lost.
Individual Donors and Philanthropy
Donations by individuals are important to cultural
organizations, especially as other sources decline.
Studies of giving by American households show a re-
cent rise in contributions; however, the average size
of the gift to the arts is still below levels attained a
decade ago. There is evidence that philanthropy can
be taught. When potential donors understand the
many methods of giving that benefit both them and
their causes — such as charitable remainder trusts,
charitable annuities, and other forms of deferred giv-
ing — they often increase their contributions.
Giving and volunteering are closely linked. Indi-
viduals who volunteer time and services are much more
likely to give, and give more on average than do non-
volunteers. The forthcoming President's Summit of
Service, to be convened by President Clinton and all
living former presidents of the United States, can help
spur the renewal of citizen action and philanthropy.
There are other encouraging signs: surveys of volun-
teering by high school and college youth show an in-
creased willingness to give time and energy to a wide
range of causes. National programs like Americorps
and the Points of Light Foundation and local initia-
tives such as Mayor Richard Riordan's Volunteer Lead-
ership Development Program in Los Angeles offer new
vehicles for recruiting civic-minded Americans.
More individual donors must be cultivated; many
Americans, especially among minority and recent im-
migrant groups, give generously to community causes
but are rarely asked to contribute to the arts or the
humanities. As evidence of the potential response,
when the Japanese American National Museum in
Los Angeles undertook a capital campaign, nearly
90% of the donors had never before given to a cul-
tural organization. As the population of the United
States changes, cultural organizations must develop
strategies to reach out to new donors, encouraging
them to become volunteers and contributors.
Philanthropy — the ethic of giving — must be
taught by families and by charitable, educational, and
religious institutions. Tax and other incentives rein-
force, but cannot replace, a basic sense of individual
responsibility to the community.
A renaissance of American philanthropy is espe-
cially timely as we begin a new millennium. The "baby
boom" generation will benefit from a huge transfer
of wealth, estimated to be in the trillions of dollars,
from their parents. If America is to achieve its po-
tential in the next century, some portion of this wealth
must be invested in our cultural capital.
The President's Committee investigated many ideas
for developing new resources for non-profit cultural
activities. Although there are many promising ex-
periments and proposals worthy of further explora-
tion, there is no "silver bullet" solution to replace our
complex, interdependent system of private and pub-
Several ideas deserve further exploration. Cul-
tural organizations with endowment funds could pool
their assets and, by using professional money man-
agement services, obtain better returns at lower costs.
Many colleges and universities take advantage of
pooled endowments; arts and humanities organiza-
tions could join forces with them in such ventures or
create their own.
Many investors, especially in the baby boom gen-
eration, are used to having their investment decisions
made by managers of mutual funds; at the same time
they are looking for socially responsible investments,
ones that yield a return while advancing desirable
causes. With seed money from foundations, national
or regional mutual funds could be set up, realizing a
competitive return to attract more private investors,
and eventually generating charitable contributions
designated for arts and humanities organizations.
Finally, foundations can encourage creative fi-
nancing by providing seed money to:
>• develop sound business plans and to carry out
mergers to achieve efficiencies where missions
and markets overlap.
>• advance start-up funds to launch for-profit sub-
sidiaries where they complement non-profit cul-
>• The President's Committee recommends a Na-
tional Initiative, led by the White House, in co-
operation with civic, foundation and corporate
leaders, to renew America's strong tradition of
philanthropy. This National Initiative on Phi-
lanthropy would call upon individuals and on
the public and private sectors to become more
engaged in increasing overall giving.
>■ We recommend, as part of this Initiative, the
creation of a new national recognition program
• exemplary giving by individual donors to the
arts and the humanities;
• exemplary giving by private foundations for
• exemplary volunteering (either individuals or
volunteer programs) to cultural organizations;
• leadership by corporate donors that increase
giving and volunteering to the arts and the
As part of this national initiative we call on corpora-
>- Raise giving levels to all causes, and giving to the
arts and the humanities through a variety of
means, choosing those vehicles most appropri-
ate for individual businesses and localities. These
• Encouraging employee giving to arts and hu-
manities organizations through matching gift
programs and expanding or initiating work-
place giving programs.
• Expanding volunteer programs, including
released time for employees, executive loan
programs, and technical assistance or manage-
A visiting scholar explains an artifact to a resident of
Potomac Gardens in Washington, D.C.
Photo <Q Roy Lewis Photography, courtesy of Humanities Council of
• Setting as a goal a minimum level of philan-
thropic giving equal to two percent of pre-tax
We encourage foundations at the national and local
level to exercise leadership beyond grant-making by:
>■ Strengthening capacities of cultural organiza-
tions to survive in an unstable environment.
>* Developing new sources of support, together with
other partners, for the arts and the humanities.
We recommend that community foundations:
>■ Use their special abilities both to raise funds and
distribute grants to make cultural support an in-
tegral part of their mission to serve community
>- Build partnerships with family foundations to re-
spond to the needs of the arts and humanities in
Cultural organizations can increase support from in-
>• Engaging children and young adults through vol-
unteer and internship programs.
>• Building the base of volunteers and donors by
inviting the full range of America's population
to take part in the activities of their organizations
and to serve on boards and staffs.
>• Cultivating the ethic of giving: informing donors
about the many ways they can give and volun-
teer, and working with charitable, educational
and religious organizations to help carry out the
National Initiative on Philanthropy.
THE PUBLIC ROLE
The President's Committee believes that the public
sector has an indispensable role to play in support-
ing the nation's cultural life. Culture is produced by
and belongs to all of the American people. The works
of scholars and artists of all traditions are part of the
legacy we pass on to the next generation. Because
all Americans have a stake in preserving our cultural
heritage, there is a national and therefore a federal
responsibility for this legacy.
In America's complex system of cultural support,
government does not play the predominant role. Yet
through laws, tax policies, regulatory practices and
appropriations at federal, state and local levels, gov-
ernment can either stimulate or depress the private
support that sustains our cultural life.
The federal government is a builder, designer,
printer and publisher. The government commissions
monuments and operates archives and museums. It
conserves land and other natural resources that are fun-
damental to the cultural practices of many Americans.
Government offers incentives for improving schools,
and enacts legislation that affects the health of
foundations and non-profit organizations. Government
policies influence broadcasting, historic preservation,
and the availability of electronic communications.
The role of the federal government as a direct
grant-maker to the arts and the humanities is fairly
recent, dating from 1965. The President's Commit-
tee reviewed the historical context, however, and
found that from the earliest days of our Republic,
the government took an active role in advancing the
arts and the humanities. The Founders understood
the power of art and of ideas to provide the symbols
and the language of democracy. Although wary of
culture as an official expression of the state, the first
American leaders saw artistic and scholarly pursuits
as values to be encouraged. By 1800, Congress had
established America's first national cultural institu-
tion, the Library of Congress.
A pattern of combining public with private sup-
port emerged early on to create the great federal cul-
tural institutions. The private gift of James Smithson
of England in 1846 launched the Smithsonian Insti-
tution. In 1937, Congress accepted industrialist and
philanthropist Andrew W. Mellon's major art collec-
tion and an endowment fund to establish the National
Gallery of Art. Congress provided sites in Washing-
ton, D.C. for the Kennedy Center for the Perform-
ing Arts and more recently for the United States Ho-
locaust Memorial Museum. Both were built largely
with private funds. All of these federal institutions
depend on annual support from Congress but to
operate fully, each must seek private contributions.
The federal government also affects cultural life
through its programs and policies. The Constitu-
tion stimulated American innovation by providing
a limited term of economic protection for creators
in Article 1, Section 8. Second class postage rates,
introduced in 1879, encouraged the flow of ideas
and the growth of American popular literature.
After enacting a federal income tax in 1916, Con-
gress added a provision the following year allowing
tax deductions for contributions to educational,
cultural and social service organizations. This ac-
...while no government can call a great
artist or scholar into existence, it is
necessary and appropriate for the
Federal Government to help create and
sustain not only a climate encouraging
freedom of thought, imagination, and
inquiry, but also the material condi-
tions facilitating the release of this
— From Public Law 89-209 establishing
the National Endowment for the Arts and
the National Endowment for the Humanities
tion profoundly affected the development of Ameri-
can cultural and educational life by affording pri-
vate donors more incentive to give.
Direct support for the nation's cultural life came
with the Depression. When the Works Progress Ad-
ministration (WPA) programs of the 1930s employed
thousands of artists and researchers, the resulting
projects introduced millions of Americans to their own
culture, and amassed a body of American folklore and
public art that still enliven our society today.
After the WPA programs ended and the country
prepared for World War II, two decades passed be-
fore Senator Claiborne Pell, Senator Jacob K. Javits
and Representative Frank Thompson and others
co-sponsored legislation to create a National Foun-
dation on the Arts and the Humanities. In 1965 Presi-
dent Lyndon B. Johnson signed Public Law 89-209,
thus establishing the National Endowment for the
Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the
Humanities (NEH). The underlying principles of the
legislation are: encouraging state and local support,
matching public grants with private funds, improv-
ing citizens' access to cultural experiences, and en-
couraging individual creativity and achievement.
In 1976, Senator Pell and Representative John
Brademas co-sponsored the Institute of Museum Ser-
vices Act to establish a new independent agency that
offered general operating support to qualified art,
history and science museums, botanical gardens and
zoos. In 1996, Congress approved the merger of the
Institute of Museum Services with the library pro-
grams of the Department of Education to form the
Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
Purposes and Influences
The President's Committee finds that the federal cul-
tural institutions and grant-making agencies have had
a decisive impact on the development of the nation's
The evidence of the last thirty years of direct sup-
port for culture through the National Endowment
for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Hu-
manities and the Institute of Museum and Library
Services demonstrates their important role in:
>• stimulating more private contributions to the arts
and the humanities;
>- creating an intergovernmental support system of
state and local cultural agencies;
>- increasing citizens' access to cultural resources;
>• exercising leadership to conduct projects of na-
tional significance, influence entire disciplines,
provide national recognition and raise standards;
>* preserving cultural heritage;
>• encouraging new works in scholarship and the arts.
We recognize that if government provides even a
small part of society's investment in cultural activities,
debate over what is appropriate for government sup-
port is inevitable and, indeed, healthy. That a few gov-
ernment grants create controversy or are even deemed
mistakes does not invalidate the role of government.
The capacity for self-criticism and to hear dissonant
voices is a sign of a vigorous democracy.
Stimulating Private Support. There is a clear par-
allel between the federal investment in culture and the
willingness of corporations, foundations and individu-
als to support cultural activity. Both private and public
sources rose dramatically after 1965 and the creation of
the Endowments. Grants from the National Endow-
ment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for
the Arts, and the Institute of Museum and Library Ser-
vices are matched with private money. For example,
IMLS awards to museums for general operating grants
are no more than 15 percent of their budgets. Institu-
tions with IMLS grants for conservation and leadership
must raise twice the amount of their awards.
The overwhelming evidence is that the federal
"imprimatur," or "seal of approval" as it is often called,
convinces other funding sources to contribute. The
federal agencies establish national merit-review pro-
cedures that demonstrate that a proposal has passed
rigorous evaluation — a review many corporate and
foundation officials take into serious consideration.
Creating a State and Local Infrastructure. Leader-
ship by the federal cultural agencies stimulated the cre-
Quinault tribal ambassador Harvest Moon prompts questions at an elementary school in Olympia, WA.
Photo courtesy of the Washington Commission tor the Humanities.
ation of an intergovernmental network of state and lo-
cal arts agencies and state humanities councils, which
gready increased the cultural experiences available to
Americans. This network has led to vast increases in
support for the arts, humanities and local culture
throughout the country, often in places that had never
before experienced an enhanced cultural life.
Today, state arts and humanities councils exist
in all fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico,
the Virgin Islands and the three Pacific territories.
State arts councils are usually agencies of state gov-
ernment while state humanities councils are private
non-profit organizations. Seven regional arts orga-
nizations and over 3,800 local arts councils offer our
citizens a rich variety of programs. This infrastruc-
ture of state and local support for cultural life did
not exist thirty years ago.
The state humanities councils, formed in the
1970s with grants from the National Endowment for
the Humanities, provide public education through
reading groups, literacy programs, informed public
discussions of public issues, and historical exhibitions
and documentaries. Congress requires NEH to grant
20% of its program funds to state councils but they
actually receive closer to 30%.
State arts agencies combine state and federal
monies to support cultural organizations, local arts
councils, and individual artists. Many arts councils
also administer state funds for programs of art in
public spaces and provide a variety of services to the
field. The councils cooperate with other state agen-
cies on recreation, youth services and cultural tour-
ism. States receive 27.5% of NEA's program funds,
with an additional 7.5% available for projects in
"underserved" areas. In 1990, when the NEA appro-
priation totalled $173.3 million, states attained their
highest level of funding: $292 million. In the fiscal
crises of the early nineties, forty-four states suffered
cuts in state funding; by 1993, total state support fell
by 27%. Recent trends show some increases, although
not in every state, for a combined 1996 total of $263
million in arts appropriations for all states.
Since 1965, the number of both non-profit arts
councils and arts agencies which are part of local gov-
ernment has increased dramatically. Local councils
address community cultural needs, providing grants to
cultural organizations and artists, including activities in
the humanities and folklore. They also operate facili-
ties and cooperate with local government in planning,
youth services, tourism and downtown revitalization.
The NEA has stimulated the growth of local councils by
In the third year of the Civil War,
Abraham Lincoln ordered work to go
ahead on the completion of the dome
of the Capitol. When critics protested
the diversion of labor and money from
the prosecution of the war, Lincoln
said, "If people see the Capitol going
on, it is a sign that we intend this
Union shall go on." Franklin Roosevelt
recalled this story in 1941 when, with
the world in the blaze of war, he dedi-
cated the National Gallery in Washing-
ton. And John Kennedy recalled both
these stories when he asked for public
support of the arts in 1962. Lincoln
and Roosevelt, Kennedy said, "under-
stood that the life of the arts, far from
being an interruption, a distraction, in
the life of the nation, is very close to
the center of a nation's purpose — and
is a test of the quality of a nation's
Source: Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.
"America, the Arts, and the Future,"
Nancy Hanks Lecture, 1988.
awarding grants which have enabled them to tap new
municipal funds for the arts. Cities and towns now allo-
cate at least $650 million in public monies through lo-
cal councils and directly to cultural institutions.
The humanities do not have an exact parallel to
the national network of local arts councils. The com-
munity bases for the humanities are colleges and uni-
versities, museums, local historical societies and li-
braries. All of these institutions offer learning op-
portunities to the public and support the work of
Making Cultural Experience More Available: A
quantum leap in cultural activity can be traced from
the time of the creation of the National Endowment
for the Arts and the National Endowment for the
Humanities in 1965 and the Institute for Museum
Services in 1976. An increase in the number of his-
toric sites, cultural programs produced on radio and
television, and actions to preserve natural resources
integral to cultural practices, can be credited to the
National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Corpo-
ration for Public Broadcasting, the National Park Ser-
vice and other federally-assisted programs. The GI
bill and federal student loans have allowed millions
of Americans to attend colleges and universities where
they are exposed to the arts and humanities. Folk
cultures, once endangered, are now often presented
to the larger community and passed on through ap-
prenticeships funded with state and federal grants.
The major programs of private foundations have also
strengthened cultural development since the 1950s,
but there is little doubt of the influence of federal,
state and local governments.
We cite just a few examples. In 1966, the newly-
formed Theatre Communications Group counted
among its members only 35 professional non-profit
theaters. Today, TCG has over 300 member theaters,
and the estimates of the total number of not-for-profit
theaters are between 600 and 900. Opera America
now includes over 100 professional opera companies
PUBLISHING THE FOUNDING FATHERS
<#r <f #
Sources of Funding
□ National Historical Publications & Records Commission
I National Endowment for the Humanities
Federal funding is the primary source of support for the publication
of the papers of the Founding Fathers.
Sources: The Papers of George Washington, Papers of Benjamin Franklin,
Ammttin (.iiuiuil nj Irarnnl Smir/irs
in its membership. Dance audiences once clustered
in the few major cities able to support dance seasons;
but the number of dance troupes has jumped from
28 in 1958 to over 400 today. Chamber music en-
sembles now number 1,120 groups, the majority
formed in the last 20 years. Of America's 8,200 mu-
seums, almost half have come into being since 1970.
Although admission prices to cultural events can
sometimes be too high for many Americans, they would
be even higher if private contributions and government
grants did not underwrite the costs of production. Ac-
tivities that involve Americans in the humanities — such
as reading, library discussions, films, visits to historic sites
and museums — are often free or provided at low cost.
As a federal purpose, increasing access to culture
means that, in addition to serving the broadest audi-
ence possible, federal funding agencies must be con-
cerned with fairness and inclusion. This commitment
requires recognizing the many art forms and human-
istic pursuits of our pluralistic society.
By almost any measure, Americans enjoy a greater
number of cultural experiences, closer to home, than
at any other time in our history.
National Leadership: The broadest possible per-
spective is necessary to reward projects of truly na-
tional significance. The federal agencies fund many
projects that reach across borders and are ambitious
in scope. The NEA, NEH and the IMLS are the larg-
est single sources of funds for their respective fields.
There is so little private grant-making to the humani-
ties that the NEH plays a predominant role. As the
primary supporter of complex research projects
which require teams of scholars and years of work,
the NEH has made possible such publications as the
papers of George Washington and Frederick Douglass
and the Dictionary of American Regional English, as well
as dictionaries of Native American languages.
The NEH also provides national leadership by
preserving hundreds of thousands of brittle books
and millions of pages of historically important Ameri-
can newspapers, supporting seminars for school and
college teachers to improve their teaching of the hu-
manities, and funding humanities projects that use
new electronic information technologies.
Similarly, NEA grants have addressed the needs
of entire fields, reaching new audiences and bolster-
ing the financial stability of cultural organizations.
Since its early years, for example, NEA supported
dance companies through residencies and touring, the
latter of which is the economic lifeblood of most com-
panies. Although modified by rising costs and agency
budget cuts, the Endowment's dance touring program
is credited with developing both dance companies and
local presenters to bring one of America's most bril-
liant art forms to millions of citizens.
The federal government often takes on roles that
other funding sources will not, such as conservation,
documentation, and even physical maintenance. The
Institute of Museum and Library Services has worked
with the American Association of Museums and the
National Institute for Conservation to strengthen pro-
fessional standards in museum management and to
reward the best conservation practices. Museum lead-
ers testify that IMLS support for general operations
and for behind-the-scenes conservation work is
among the most valuable governmental aid precisely
because private donors shun these unglamorous ac-
tivities. Indeed, many foundations and corporate
sponsors specifically exclude general operating sup-
port from eligibility for grants.
The peer-review procedures of the federal cultural
agencies serve as professional validation. As is the case
with the sciences, the opinion of panels of experts,
while sometimes imperfect, is still the most effective
way to select excellence and identify potential.
Agencies with a national overview are also able to
present the case for cultural benefits to society. For ex-
ample, the Endowments led national efforts to address
the issues of the erosion of arts education and the im-
provement of teaching in the humanities. Recently, all
three agencies and the President's Committee joined
American companies and non-profit organizations to
promote the benefits of cultural tourism in the United
Preserving Cultural Heritage: Federal support
for museums, libraries and archives helps to conserve
cultural objects. America's museums hold millions
of objects that represent our cultural history. IMLS,
NEH and NEA grants save fragile artifacts and pro-
vide institutions professional training and funds to
care for their collections.
Folklife programs in 48 states and jurisdictions,
supported by the National Endowment for the Arts
and state arts agencies, carry out research and record
all kinds of American traditions, enabling our citi-
zens to value their cultural richness and understand
each other better.
The Humanities Endowment launched an am-
bitious national project to microfilm millions of brittle
books and decaying newspapers which contain price-
Museums are able to improve their environmen-
tal conditions to safeguard collections with grants
from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Our great national cultural institutions, such as
the Library of Congress, the National Archives, the
National Gallery of Art and the many museums of
the Smithsonian Institution, protect millions of
books, documents and other objects of our heritage.
The ability of these institutions to conserve their col-
lections and to share them with the public, includ-
ing an increasing capacity to do so electronically, sets
standards for other collections across the nation.
Creating New Artistic and Scholarly Work: New
artistic and scholarly works fire the imagination, shine
light on history, and add to the legacy of human
thought and creation. Both Endowments have been
committed to "facilitating the release of this creative
talent." This policy has meant fellowships for schol-
arly research, the source of new knowledge in the hu-
manities. For the arts, individual awards and grants to
commission new dances, plays, operas and music have
aided a significant body of American work. Well over
half the nation's prize winning authors in fiction and
poetry in the 1990s, such as recipients of the Pulitzer
Prize, won NEA literature fellowships earlier in their
New productions in the arts and the humanities
add to our store of intellectual property. Historian
James McPherson's much-acclaimed Pulitzer Prize-
winning history of the Civil War, Battle Cry of Freedom,
was written with support of an NEH fellowship. NEA
grants and the Fund for New American Plays — co-
sponsored by the Kennedy Center, the American Ex-
press Corporation and the President's Committee on
the Arts and the Humanities — have supported play-
wrights and regional theaters that have produced
prize-winning plays which have also received acclaim
Sometimes such works contribute directly to the
economy, as when Ken Burns' Civil War documen-
tary (supported by the NEH for public television)
spurred sales of books about the Civil War and visits
to battle fields. Many new works that begin in the
non-profit world migrate to the commercial sector,
such as the film industry, where they reach new audi-
ences and earn profits. New works provide elements
of creation yet to be imagined: images on the
Internet, music for film, designs for furniture or cloth-
ing, concepts of history, ideas for poems.
Impact of Cuts
Recent reductions in the budgets of the two National
Endowments and the Institute of Museum and Li-
brary Services are already having adverse effects on
the nation's cultural infrastructure.
The President's Committee is concerned that
these cuts will afflict medium and smaller organiza-
tions in particular, including ethnic and minority cul-
tural groups, which often have less access to private
funds. A national network of cultural organizations of
color reports that its members are reducing commu-
nity outreach and programming as a result of losses in
public funding and cut-backs in family spending.
Federal funds for the NEA, NEH and IMLS have
not grown in real dollars since 1979. In 1990, Con-
gress began a series of cuts in appropriations that re-
duced the ability of the Endowments and the Institute
of Museum Services to fulfill their goals. After much
Congressional debate in 1995, and again in 1996, NEA
suffered a slash of 39%, NEH was reduced by 36% and
IMLS by 28% . The combined budgets of all three agen-
cies now amount to just over '/ioo of 1% of the 1996
The impact of these cuts is now beginning to be
felt. Some important cultural organizations have al-
ready learned that they will no longer receive NEA
grants. The result will be gaping holes in their bud-
gets. Individual artists are now barred by Congress
from receiving NEA grants, with the exception of fel-
lowships in literature, awards to Jazz Masters and Na-
tional Heritage Awards.
The National Endowment for the Humanities is
spending 60% less on its public programs and for
preservation. NEH officials estimate that in 1997,
20,000 fewer brittle books will be saved and 230,000
disintegrating pages of newspapers will not be micro-
filmed. Research commissioned by the President's
Committee shows that funding from all sources for
individual fellowships in the humanities dropped
from $24 million in 1995 to $20.8 million in 1996.
Even after the recent budget reductions, the National
Endowment for the Humanities is responsible for
nearly one-third of all fellowships in the humanities.
The IMLS estimates that in 1997 it will fund 35%
fewer museums which qualified for grants. Over 100
museums of all types will not receive grants for gen-
eral operating expenses and 75 museums will not re-
ceive grants for conservation activities.
Today the National Endowments do not have
enough funds to sustain the federal-state partnership.
State arts agencies lost 30% of their Endowment
support in 1996 with some poorer or smaller states
losing more than half their budgets. The state hu-
manities councils received smaller reductions from
NEH. Because these councils have little private and
state support to fall back on, they are largely depen-
dent on NEH grants.
An earlier President's Committee study showed
that private foundations do not plan to increase their
contributions to the arts and humanities and will not
fill in the gap left by federal cuts.
State and Local
The only funding increases for the arts and the hu-
manities in the public sector today are at state and
local levels. Total state appropriations to state arts
agencies exceed the grants provided them by the fed-
eral government, although the trend is uneven. Some
states are suffering sharp cuts at the same time that
others are receiving increases. Only half the state
humanities councils are granted state funds, totaling
just under $4 million in fiscal year 1996. Public funds
for the fifty largest city arts councils are growing at
an average of 5% a year. Local councils are also
supplementing cultural initiatives by making use of
federal programs for youth, transportation and com-
munity economic development. Most states and many
cities require spending on art for certain building
projects; these "Percent for Art Programs" have di-
rected millions of dollars for commissions of works
of art in public spaces.
Mayors, city councils and local voters see the im-
pact that museums, performing arts organizations,
and other cultural agencies are having on the local
economy and on the quality of life in their commu-
nities. Local officials are initiating alternative fund-
ing mechanisms at the local level, such as a portion
of a cable franchise fee earmarked to support the
Arts Council of New Orleans. Other communities
stimulate cultural development through innovative
"incubator" programs and donated space, equipment
At least seven states have authorized local gov-
ernments to establish special cultural tax districts.
Voters in many cities are approving dedicated rev-
enues to generate new resources for the arts and the
humanities. Voters in Denver approved an increase
of one-tenth of 1% in the sales tax to support a Sci-
entific and Cultural Facilities District. This District
now raises $25 million a year for art, science and his-
tory museums, the zoo, and smaller cultural organi-
Public art: Hatchcovers in downtown Seattle.
Photo © G. Edwards. Photo courtesy of Seattle Arts Commission,
zations in the Denver metropolitan area. Citizens in
Broward County, Florida, pay a tax on admissions and
on the sale of blank tapes and video rentals, to raise
about $2 million annually for local cultural activities.
Among the "local options taxes" that cities are allowed
to collect, taxes on tourism are increasingly popular.
Recognizing the connection between increased tour-
ism and vibrant cultural offerings and historic areas,
San Francisco and many other cities generate rev-
enues through taxes on hotel rooms.
States are experimenting with a variety of alterna-
tive funding mechanisms for their state arts
agencies, ranging from selling special license plates to
earmarking increases in the corporate filing fee.
Eleven states have created special endowments,
financed with both public and private funds, to supple-
ment appropriations to their state arts agencies.
Although these state endowments will take years to
grow, their establishment shows how important cul-
tural activity has become to many states. Missourians
voted for a tax on out-of-state performers and athletes,
half of which goes to the Missouri Cultural Trust. Com-
bining state dedicated revenues with private contribu-
tions, Missouri arts agency officials expect to raise a
$200 million endowment. Texas started a cultural en-
dowment fund with a combination of revenues: pri-
vate contributions, a direct appropriation from the
state legislature, a portion of sales from a special arts
license plate, and a new tax on small hotels.
The President's Committee has studied a num-
ber of strategies for securing state and local revenues
for culture other than funds appropriated by govern-
ments. Some states have experimented with supple-
menting revenues through an income tax check-off;
this mechanism has not proven effective and the
President's Committee does not recommend it. Not-
ing the widespread use of lotteries by state govern-
ments and the success of the British national lottery
in raising large new sums for cultural institutions in
the United Kingdom, some advocates propose a na-
tional lottery in this country. Massachusetts and a
few other states arts agencies receive portions of state
lottery funds. Aside from objections by some
President's Committee members on ethical grounds
to a national lottery, our research showed that lotter-
ies are unpredictable sources of income and often
replace appropriated funds rather than provide a new
resource. The President's Committee therefore does
not recommend a national lottery. Such a lottery
would constitute regressive taxation and be a poor
public policy choice for subsidizing cultural and edu-
cational opportunities for Americans.
The uncertainty of public funding is compelling
states and localities to seek new ways to finance
their arts and humanities programs. At the same time,
budgetary pressures are prompting state and local
governments in at least 14 states and the District of
Columbia to challenge the tax-exempt status of non-
profit institutions generally or to impose payments
on them in lieu of taxes. Such trends threaten cul-
tural groups as well as other non-profit organizations.
We call on Congress to:
>■ Restore federal funding for the National Endow-
ment for the Arts, the National Endowment for
the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and
Library Services to levels adequate to fulfill their
national roles. Appropriations equal to $2.00 per
person by the year 2000 for all three agencies
would enable them to exert leadership in cul-
tural development, especially for the Millennium;
improve arts and humanities education; preserve
our cultural heritage; uphold the federal-state
partnership; and develop technology initiatives.
>■ Enhance the ability of the National Endowments
to attract private gifts, which they may currently
only accept, by authorizing these agencies to so-
licit and invest private funds. Last year Congress
authorized the Institute of Museum and Library
Services to "solicit and invest" private funds, and
the Endowments should be afforded the same
>- Ensure funding for the national cultural institu-
tions, such as the Library of Congress, the
Smithsonian Institution, the John F. Kennedy
Center for the Performing Arts, the National Gal-
lery of Art, and the National Archives, and sup-
port greater electronic access to their resources
by the public.
>* Create a dedicated revenue source to supple-
ment, not replace, existing appropriations for the
National Endowment for the Arts, the National
Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute
of Museum and Library Services. A task force to
identify this dedicated source could be organized
by the President's Committee.
>■ Retain the charitable deduction in the federal
tax code for gifts to all non-profit organizations
and make permanent the deductibility of gifts of
appreciated publicly-traded stocks to private
We challenge the federal agencies with cultural
>• Work more closely together, especially to coordi-
nate their efforts on major national projects such
as the Millennium Initiative.
We strongly urge state and local authorities to:
>* Respect the tax-exempt status of cultural and
other non-profit organizations.
>• Sustain and increase state and local appropria-
tions to cultural agencies.
>■ Adopt tax district measures that have succeeded
in other communities.
>■ Engage arts and humanities agencies, as well as
artists and scholars, in state and local planning
efforts, including cultural tourism.
>• Develop state and local Millennium Initiatives for
the arts and the humanities.
International artistic and scholarly exchanges are more
important than ever in an age in which ideas, infor-
mation, and technologies travel freely across national
borders. Today our economy is linked to international
markets. As a global power active on every continent,
the United States has a vital national interest in cul-
tural and scholarly programs that increase our under-
standing of other cultures and peoples.
As a nation of immigrants, the United States,
more than most countries, must cultivate an interna-
tional approach to culture if we are to understand
our own roots. Americans benefit from study and
travel abroad. Our schools and colleges must place
greater emphasis on international studies and the
history, languages and cultures of other nations.
International cultural and educational programs
enhance America's ability to lead in a dramatically
changing world. Above all, the humanities and the
arts transmit American confidence in the free ex-
change of ideas to strengthen economic, political and
The Fulbright and United States Information
Agency (USIA) exchange programs play a critical role
in promoting democratic values around the world.
These programs have brought future presidents and
prime ministers, university presidents and scholars, in-
fluentialjournalists, and business leaders to the United
States at crucial stages in their careers. Through the
Fulbright program the United States exchanges re-
searchers and teachers with more than 140 nations
around the world. In 47 countries, bilateral agree-
ments have created independent Fulbright commis-
sions to select candidates and promote academic ex-
changes. Many of the participating countries today
pay a far greater share of the costs of the program than
does the United States, a demonstration of the value
other countries place on the Fulbright program.
USIA's Arts America program has promoted the
interests of American artists abroad and allowed their
works to be seen by foreign audiences, many of whom
have no other opportunity to experience American
culture. A unique public-private partnership, the
Fund for U.S. Artists at International Festivals and
Exhibitions, has enabled American artists to partici-
pate in important international festivals such as the
Venice and Sao Paulo Biennales. Two private foun-
dations, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Pew
Charitable Trust, have joined USIA and the National
Endowment for the Arts to support this program.
In recent years, public funding for the Fulbright
program, Arts America and other international edu-
cational and cultural exchanges has been reduced at
a time when private sector contributions are not grow-
ing. Cuts in USIA budgets have even resulted in the
elimination of some cultural exchange programs.
The President's Committee notes that the Na-
tional Endowment for the Arts has provided impor-
tant leadership in stimulating innovative private part-
nerships with USIA, but that recent budget cuts at
NEA have threatened the agency's ability to sustain
these valuable exchanges.
The Arts and Artifacts Indemnity Act, by offer-
ing guarantees against potential losses in the loan of
priceless artworks from other countries, has made it
possible, at almost no cost to the taxpayer, for our
nation's museums and libraries to mount important
International historic commemorations offer im-
portant opportunities for the United States to recog-
nize the contributions of other countries through spe-
cial events, exhibitions, and educational programs
both here and abroad.
International tourism helps bring the world's
peoples into closer communication. Foreign visitors
to the United States list America's historical sites and
museums among the ten top reasons for their visit.
Cultural tourism plays an important role in the eco-
nomic life of many American cities, but more could
be done abroad to promote the cultural attractions
of the United States.
Our commercial creative industries are increas-
ingly global in reach. The copyright industries —
which include the motion picture, recording, pub-
lishing, and computer software industries — consti-
tute one of the largest sources of American exports.
The arts and the humanities can help American
corporations understand and do business in other
cultures. Funding for exhibits, touring artists, and
scholarly exchanges can strengthen business relation-
ships and enhance the acceptance of American prod-
ucts and services.
We call on the President to:
>■ Convene a White House Forum by 1998 on in-
ternational educational and cultural programs,
including ways to revitalize public-private part-
>■ Coordinate the Millennium Initiative with mil-
lennium commissions in other countries; invite
international participation in events planned for
2000 and 2001 in the United States.
>- Augment efforts to build and strengthen demo-
cratic societies throughout the world by using the
arts and the humanities as a crucial component
of American foreign policy.
We call on Congress to:
>• Restore funding for federal international educa-
tional and cultural exchanges, in particular the
Fulbright and Arts America programs.
We call on corporations and foundations to:
>- Encourage greater sponsorship of international
scholarly and cultural programs. We urge
American multinational firms to support schol-
arly research on, and cultural and educational
exchanges with, the countries where they do
business. Corporate and private foundation ex-
ecutives who exercise leadership in this area
could be honored by a White House designa-
tion as "cultural ambassadors."
Isaac Stern coaches a young Chinese musician in a scene
from the film From Mao to Mozart: Isaac Stern in China.
Photo courtesy of the Hopewell Foundation, Inc.
he United States is heir to a treasure of
cultural capital, created by artists and schol-
ars and by an extraordinary range of
cultural organizations. Works of our artists and think-
ers greatly enrich our lives as individual men and
women, our communities and our country. Indeed,
it is the heritage of our culture that defines us as
Americans and animates our democracy.
The President's Committee values this legacy
even as artists, scholars and cultural organizations face
uncertain times. Creative America, we believe, proposes
Today, we are on the eve of a new
century. The arts and humanities are
more essential than ever to the endur-
ance of our democratic values of toler-
ance, pluralism, and freedom, and to
our understanding of where we are and
where we need to go. At a momentous
time in our history like this when so
much is happening to change the way
we work and live, the way we relate to
one another and the way we relate to
the rest of the world, we cannot fully
understand the past, nor envision the
future we need to pursue without the
arts and humanities.
— President Clinton
Remarks, National Medal of Arts
and Frankel Prize awards.
January 9, 1997
steps for renewing our national commitment to a vi-
tal cultural life as we enter the next century.
We seek to foster an environment where Ameri-
cans can benefit from a variety of creative expressions
and thought and from a cultural climate which in-
spires broad participation. Such an environment will
be substantially enhanced if our schools offer a strong
humanities education and if we include the arts in
the curriculum. Our cultural life will be nurtured as
well by informed citizens dedicated to continuing our
traditions of philanthropy and voluntarism; by civic
leaders willing to serve and to give; and by private
sector contributors committed to support of the arts
and the humanities during a time of great change.
A healthy cultural climate will require political
leadership that understands how the arts and the
humanities can elevate community life. Govern-
ment policies that promote good design, preserve
valuable historic properties, and enhance civic
spaces with parks and public art, will benefit us all.
To flourish, the arts and the humanities need pub-
lic policies which encourage art and scholarship, as
well as tax laws that stimulate private giving. The
contributions to society of artists and scholars merit
more recognition. Creative individuals can contrib-
ute to public understanding by interpreting their
works and by playing their part in community life.
A positive cultural environment will be one where
the diversity of American culture will be perceived
as a source of strength.
The members of the President's Committee
deeply believe that the future of the American people
will in large part depend upon a renewed commit-
ment to the cultural life of our country. Fortunately,
the United States today is prospering. The nation is
at peace and although not everyone is sharing in its
benefits, the economy is growing. If as a society we
value the contributions of the arts and the humani-
ties, we can afford to invest in them. We are rich in
resources and spirit: we can afford to champion a
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The President's Committee (PCAH) recognizes many individuals for their contributions to this report. The Committee
commissioned and will issue a number of research papers. We are grateful to the following commissioned authors: Benjamin R. Barber;
William J. Baumol; Norma E. Cantu; Emmett D. Carson; Janne G. Gallagher; H. Peter Karoff; Dian Magie; Ronald J. Manheimer; James
May; Merrill D. Peterson; Dan Shilling; James Sitter; Craig Smith; Richard Steckel and Robin Simons; George Wachtel; Tu Weiming;
Caroline Williams. The President's Committee thanks John D'Arms, Ann Focke, Michael Gary, Neil Harris, Joan Jeffri, John Kreidler, Nina
Ozlu and Louise Stevens for contributing their research to this report. Special thanks to: the PCAH Steering Committee members who
worked on this project; Howard Gilman, James A. Smith and the staff of the Gilman Foundation and White Oak Conference Center for their
support; American Association of Museums for conducting a survey of its membership; American Council of Learned Societies for re-
search and administrative support; Benton Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities for partial support for research
used in this report; and to the Rockefeller Foundation, J. Paul Getty Trust, and Library of Congress, American Folklife Center for hosting
forums of experts; and Clark University, Arizona State University, University of Minnesota, University of Texas at Austin, Ohio State Univer-
sity, and Pennsylvania State University for contributing data on the humanities in higher education. The President's Committee would like
to especially thank Roy DeCarava for authorizing the use of his work, Romare Bearden 1951, and Hilario Candela of Spillis, Candela &
Partners, Inc. for the cover art. Acknowledgements: Edward H. Able, Jr., American Association of Museums; Julie Angelo, American
Association of Community Theaters; Arjun Appadurai, Chicago Humanities Institute; Nina Archibal, Minnesota Historical Society; Alberta
Arthurs, Rockefeller Foundation; Kelly Barsdate, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies; Melanie Beene, William and Flora Hewlett
Foundation; Jane Beck, Vermont Folklife Center; Bruce Becker, Minnesota Orchestra; Robert Bellah, University of California, Berkeley;
Theodore S. Berger, New York Foundation for the Arts; Edward Bilous, Composer; John Bolger, Dancer, Choreographer; Elizabeth Boris,
Urban Institute; Jerr Boschee, National Center for Social Entrepreneurs; William G. Bowen, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Jim Bower,
Getty Information Institute; Bonnie Brooks, Dance/USA; Joan Myers Brown, The International Association of Black Dance; Jeanne Butler,
Kenan Institute for the Arts; Clifford Chanin, Rockefeller Foundation; David Cheaney, Actor; June Choi, Asian American Arts Alliance;
Christina Choy, Filmmaker; Steven Cisler, Apple Computers; Nina Kressner Cobb, Consultant; Stephanie Coen, Theatre Communications
Group; Randy Cohen, Americans for the Arts; Caroline Croft, United States Information Agency; Dick Deasy, Goals 2000 Arts Education
Partnership; Nicholas and Elena Delbanco, Writers; Anita DiFanis, Association of Art Museum Directors; Paul DiMaggio, Princeton Univer-
sity; Heather Dinwiddie, American Symphony Orchestra League; Leilani Lattin Duke, Getty Center for Education in the Arts; David Edwards,
National Council for Foreign Language and International Studies; Walter J. Ellis, III, Software Process & Metrics; Mary Lou Falcone, Singer;
Shelley Feist, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; Andrew Finch, American Association of Museums; Eleanor Fink, Getty
Information Institute; Phyllis Franklin, Modern Languages Association; Julie L. Franz, Arts & Business Council of Chicago; Roderick S.
French, George Washington University; Susan Gardner, Capitol Productions; Cara Gilbert, Getty Information Institute; Marian Godfrey,
Pew Charitable Trusts; Kenneth Goody, Bank of New York; Cathy Gorn, National History Day; Werner Gundersheimer, Folger Shakespeare
Library; Jessica Hagedom, Writer, Mulitmedia Artist; John Hammer, National Humanities Alliance; Neil Harris, University of Chicago; Janet
Hatano, Oakland Museum; Katherine Hayles, University of California, Los Angeles; Peter Hero, Community Foundation of Santa Clara
County; Sanford Hirsch, Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation; Virginia Hodgkinson, Independent Sector; Werner Hoeflich, Painter;
Elizabeth Holtzman, former Comptroller of New York City; Frederick Hoxie, Newberry Library; Bettina Huber, Modern Languages Associa-
tion; Alan Jabbour, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress; Arnita A. Jones, Indiana University; Michael Kammen, Cornell University;
Nicolas Kanellos, Arte Publico Press; Ann Kaplan, Giving USA; Miriam Kazanjian, Council for International Education; Stanley N. Katz,
American Council of Learned Societies; Jonathan Katz, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies; Robin Kelly, New York University; Linda
Kerber, University of Iowa; Alvin Kernan, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation/ Princeton; Lee Kessler, American Arts Alliance; Richard Krasno,
Institute of International Education; Richard Kurin, Center for Folklife Programs & Cultural Studies, Smithsonian Institution; Martha Kyrillidou,
Association of Research Libraries; Richard Lanham, University of California, Los Angeles; Mike Liebhold, Consultant; Abel Lopez, GALA
Hispanic Theater; Peter Lyman, University of California, Berkeley; Richard Lyman, Stanford University; Robert Lynch, Americans for the
Arts; Glenn MacRae, Vermont Community Foundation; John Mahlmann, Music Educators National Conference; Kathleen McCarthy, Cen-
ter for the Study of Philanthropy; Judith McCulloh, University of Illinois Press; Kathleen McDonnell, Getty Information Institute; Robert
McDuffie, Violinst; Esther Mackintosh, Federation of State Humanities Councils; Penelope McPhee, Knight Foundation; Rex Moser, Arts
America/USIA; Jennifer Muller, Dancer, Choreographer; Dick Netzer, New York University; Robert O'Hara, Director; Barbara Oberg, Ben-
jamin Franklin Papers; John Orders, Irvine Foundation; Marc Pachter, Smithsonian Institution; Raymund Paredes, University of California;
Pat Parker, National Park Service; Loida Maritza Perez, Novelist; Sandra M. Perez, Association of Hispanic Arts; David Perkins, Harvard
Project Zero; Joseph Polisi, Juilliard School; Glenn Porter, Hagley Museum and Library; Yuri Rasovsky, Consultant; Larry Reger, National
Institute for Conservation; J. Dennis Rich, Columbia College, Chicago; Karen Richter, Chorus America; April Riddle, Theatre Development
Fund; Judson Rosebush, Judson Rosebush Company; Jeff Rothenberg, Rand Corporation; Mary Beth Salerno, American Express Com-
pany; Leslie Samuels, Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton; Jillian Sandrock, Fund for Folk Culture; Walter Scheuer, filmmaker; Marilyn
Schmitt, Getty Information Institute; Michael Schneider, Department of State; William Schubert, Resolutions; Diantha Schull, Libraries for
the Future; Marc Scorca, Opera America; Joan Shigekawa, Rockefeller Foundation; Bill Shore, Share Our Strength; Holly Sidford, Lila
Wallace Readers Digest Fund; Arthur Smith, Opera America; John Sparks, American Symphony Orchestra League; Scott Stoner, ArtsEdge;
John Sullivan, Theatre Communications Group; Lynn Szwaja, Rockefeller Foundation; John Kuo Wei Tchen, City University of New York;
John Thorpe, Network of Cultural Organizations of Color; Audris Tillman, Conference Board; Robin Tryloff, Sara Lee Corporation; Dorothy
Twohig, Papers of George Washington; Maria Ucelli, Rockefeller Foundation; Erwin Washington, Lula Washington Dance Theatre; Heather
Watts, American Symphony Orchestra League; Judith Weitz, Consultant; Pat Williams, American Association of Museums; Barbara Wolkoff ,
Columbia University; Harry Woolf, Institute for Advanced Study; Howard Woolley, Bell Atlantic; Margaret J. Wyszomirski, Case Western
Reserve University; Tomas Ybarra-Frausto, Rockefeller Foundation; Jamil S. Zainaldin, Federation of State Humanities Councils; Janet
Zweig, Sculptor, Designer; and the staffs of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Arts and the
National Endowment for the Humanities. Contributors: Ellen McCulloch-Lovell, Executive Director; Malcolm L. Richardson, Deputy
Director; Dawn M. Ellis, Researcher; Beth Murfee, Editor; James A. Smith; William Ivey. Researchers: Tamara Brown; Lois Fusek;
Amanda F. MacKenzie; Bonnie Magness-Gardiner; Ariel Rosenblum. Staff: Kevin Casey; Jane Engelstad; Andrea Johnson-Stewart.
Interns: Krista Michelle Kim; April Milander; Brian Reich; Mora Stephens; Regina Syquia.
Cover art courtesy of Spillis, Candela and Partners, Inc.
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President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities
1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20506